Posts Tagged ‘Health’

94 Million smokers in India, 14 million with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseas

November 15, 2007

PUDUCHERRY: The habit of smoking is on the rise in India, even as the trend is registering a steady decline in the Western countries, an expert has said.

World Health Organisation has estimated that there were around 94 million smokers in India, Dr K H Kisku, Head of the Department of Pulmonary Medicine at the Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), said in Puducherry on Tuesday.

“While the incidence of smoking is drastically coming down in the West, it is on the rise in India,” he said.

Among these 94 million smokers in India, 14 million were suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), he said, on the eve of World COPD day.

Smoking is the prime cause of COPD and the disease had been found to be the fourth leading cause of deaths, he added.

Asserting that COPD was curable, he however, said that one should quit smoking immediately and undergo treatment for getting better results.

Kisku said that sometimes even non-smokers would suffer from the COPD due to passive smoking. Constant exposure to fumes from cooking stoves and polluted air could also lead to the disease.

The percentage of damage suffered by the lungs could be ascertained with the help of spirometer, he said.

The PIMS is conducting a free spirometry test till November 16.

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55 percent women anaemic, 40 percent kids underweight: NFHSreport

October 11, 2007

More than half the women in India  are anaemic and one in three child is underweight.

‘Anaemia is disturbingly common among adults. 55 percent of women in India are anaemic and 43 percent of kids below the age of three are underweight,’ reveals the final report of the National Family Health Survey – III (NFHS-3), released Thursday.

‘Anaemia among pregnant women during that period has also increased. Even though men are much less likely than women to be anaemic, anaemia levels in men are at around 24 percent,’ the NFHS survey revealed.

The findings showed that malnutrition continues to be a significant health problem for children and adults in India.

‘There has been very marginal change in the percentage of children who are underweight. From 43 percent underweight children in 1998-99 to 40 percent in 2006.’

NFHS-3 also found high prevalence of anaemia – 70 percent in children aged 6-59 months. Anaemia is primarily linked to poor nutrition.

‘Women and men suffer a dual burden of over nutrition and under nutrition. More than one third of women are too thin, while 13 percent are overweight.

‘One-third of men are too thin, and 9 percent are overweight or obese. The states with the largest percentage of overweight women and men are in Punjab, Kerala, and Delhi, especially among the more educated,’ the survey pointed out.

Millions breathe cancer-causing air in India: report

June 4, 2006

MUMBAI (Reuters) – Millions in India breathe air loaded with cancer-causing chemicals and toxic gases present at levels that are thousands of times higher than permissible limits, an independent report said on Saturday.

India, one of the most polluted countries in the world, does not even have a standard for many harmful chemicals and gases, and thus no monitoring nor regulation for them, the report said.

The study by the Community Environmental Monitors (CEM), an independent environmental and health agency, is India’s first comprehensive national survey of ambient air that based its findings on a two-year survey carried out in 13 locations.

“As India is poised to nearly double its industrial capacity in the coming years, our nation is pathetically behind in terms of its infrastructure to safeguard its environment or the health of people from air pollution,” said CEM’s Shweta Narayan.

The study found that millions of Indians in cities and villages were exposed to at least 45 dangerous chemicals, including 13 carcinogens, some of which were present at levels 32,000 times higher than globally accepted standard.

Last month, the World Bank said pollution was growing rapidly in India and China because of inefficient investment in energy.

India is mainly dependent on coal for its energy, but has about 15 nuclear power plants and is under pressure to increase energy production to meet a furious pace of industrialization.

“Air pollution monitoring and regulation is primitive, and the world’s fourth-largest economy has no standards for some of the most toxic and commonly found air pollutants,” said Narayan.

The samples were taken from residential areas and public thoroughfares in or near industrial areas, effluent discharge channels, smoldering garbage dumps and toxic waste facilities.

The chemicals found targeted virtually every system in the human body – eyes, central nervous system, skin and respiratory system, liver, kidneys, blood, cardiovascular system, reproductive system, the report said.

To reduce air pollution, the Indian government is actively encouraging the use of compressed natural gas by vehicles — a move that has resulted in a few cleaner cities — and piped natural gas by households.

But the country has refused cuts to greenhouse gases imposed by the Kyoto Protocol, saying such a cap would hamper its furious pace of industrialization.

India is exempt from the mandatory cuts because, like China, it is considered a developing nation.

June 3, 2006 , Krittivas Mukherjee, © Reuters