India has witnessed a remarkable change in last two decades towards greater penetration of technology and western lifestyle among young and old alike. However, there are added costs to such a change. With 65% of population less than 35 years of age, India is increasingly becoming vulnerable to the non-communicable lifestyle diseases which come along with greater reliance on technology as against physical work and lifestyle shift towards west which includes greater intake of processed and junk food which are high in trans-fats, cholesterol and sugar causing obesity. This has resulted in an increase in diabetes, cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory cases in the young Indians. The increase in the number of young patients is alarming and can turn demographic dividend into demographic burden.
In such a scenario, it’s prudent to give a thought on making weight reduction and healthy lifestyle maintenance mandatorily a part of school curriculum in order to pre-empt the challenge of noncommunicable diseases in India.The school should focus not only on academic learning but physical exercise and sports as well. This can be done easily by including Sports and Physical Training in daily class schedule. Apart from it, a school should ensure that students are having home cooked healthy meals during lunch break instead of processed and junk food. Monthly health camps should be conducted in school premises. Above all grades should be awarded for healthy lifestyle.
Equal responsibility lies with parents as well. Nowadays with rising competition across the country, students spend most of their time in books instead of playing field. With the increase in number of working parents, there has been a significant decline in the consumption of home cooked meal. People need to understand the importance of slight trade offs which they need to make so as to enjoy good health as well as not compromise with their work i.e., balance their lives. This requires a total attitudinal shift in the entire country.
Longevity and health can only be promoted through healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle is necessary for developed India. Proper nutrition and health promotes better cognition and learning abilities. It will also reduce the health burden on the public exchequer and private individuals as well. These learning abilities promote better skill development. Skilled India will lead to value generation across Agriculture, Industry and Service sector. Better jobs would mean better incomes which will ultimately pave way to improved standard of living. This will also mean higher taxes to government and higher spending on social infrastructure thus reducing poverty. Reduced poverty will lead to better health outcomes thus completing the virtuous cycle.