The report is based on a primary healthcare survey covering 2,33,672 people and 673 public health offices in 21 states, to analyse the rising cases of NCDs in the country and the social profile of suffering households.

A new report of the Associated Chambers of Commerce of India – the oldest and apex chamber of commerce and industry – has observed that India’s non-communicable disease (NCD) burden is growing at an alarming rate, with the average age for onset falling sharply.

The report is based on a primary healthcare survey covering 2,33,672 people and 673 public health offices in 21 states, to analyse the rising cases of NCDs in the country and the social profile of suffering households. The report was launched on Thursday and a virtual panel discussion was held with experts.

Prepared by Thought Arbitrage Research Institute (TARI), the survey reported that NCDs increase after 18 years and show a quantum leap when an individual crosses the age of 35 years. It was found that more than two-thirds of individuals suffering from NCDs are in the most productive life age group – between 26 and 59 years. This is an alarming trend and points to the grim reality that the burden of NCDs on India is long-lasting given that 65 per cent of the country’s population is below 35.

The survey suggested that the prevalence of having a NCD among the population is 116 per 1000 population in India. It identified hypertension, digestive disease, and diabetes as the top three NCDs, followed by respiratory diseases, brain/neurological disorders, heart diseases, kidney disorders, and cancer in the order of prevalence.

On a collective basis, the report identified air pollution as the most prevalent risk factor among the surveyed population. It was followed by low physical activity – a key metabolic and physical activity and an imbalanced diet, a behavioural risk factor that occupied third spot.

Dr Ambrish Mithal, chairman and head, endocrinology and diabetes department, Max Healthcare (Pan Max), said in the webinar that diabetes has risen exponentially in India from 2.1% in the 1970s in urban areas to between 10-20% in 2020. The cases of diabetes are even higher in Metros cities, at 35-40%, he said.

According to Dr Rajinder K. Dhamija, head of neurology department, Lady Hardinge Medical College, Delhi, stroke cases have grown four times in the last 30 years. This can be attributed to lifestyle and demographic changes that our country is undergoing, he said. “It is worth noting that the life expectancy of our population has increased in our country from 47 to 70 years since independence. This means that we have a large aging population who are vulnerable to such diseases,” he said.

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