As Indians get richer, they get rich folks’ ailments. Cardiovascular diseases are now more common cause of fatality than TB or waterborne diseases.
'Lifestyle' illnesses overtake 'poverty' disease in India reflecting growing middle class
'Lifestyle' illnesses, such as heart disease have overtaken the so-called 'poverty' diseases of tuberculosis and diarrhoea as India's biggest killer, reflecting the country's growing affluence.
By Dean Nelson in New Delhi
Published: 7:28PM BST 12 Apr 2010
According to the government survey of mortality in the country, more than a quarter of 130,000 deaths analysed between 2001 and 2003 were caused by coronary heart disease. But in the same period, more than one in 10 died from TB and just four per cent from diarrhoea-related conditions.
The figures from the Registrar General of India and the Indian Council for Medical Research reflect the sedentary lifestyles among India's growing middle class, the rise of motorcycle and car ownership, and a growing fondness for food fried in clarified butter ghee and sweets soaked in syrup.
The study is the most comprehensive of its kind carried out in India - and its backers say it is the largest analysis of causes of death in the world.
Its findings have alarmed health specialists who assumed poverty diseases claimed most lives, especially in rural India.
Their findings will now be used to review the country's health priorities and improve the lifestyles which claim so many of the nine million lives lost in India every year.
"The changing lifestyle and prosperity of Indians which began a decade ago has reduced the physical activities of people, particularly in urban India," said Dr Shikha Sharma, Senior Dietician at the Wellness group.
Dr.Vanita Arora, of the Cardiological Society of India, said while Indians had a genetic predisposition to heart disease, poor lifestyle is a factor in its increase.
"The sedentary lifestyle, over stressed life, bad eating habits and smoking are the other factors which have made heart disease an epidemic in India," she said.