Adolescents, who constitute 21 per cent of India's population, are at high risk of developing non-communicable diseases due to factors like tobacco and alcohol consumption, dietary behaviours, insufficient physical activity, and obesity.
These are the recent findings by the National Non-Communicable Disease Monitoring Survey of India and the National Centre for Disease Informatics and Research (NCDIR). The motive of the study was to find out the key non-communicable diseases (NCD) risk factors among the youngsters aged between 15-17.
According to the study, one in every ten teenagers has been under the influence of alcohol, smoking different forms of tobacco, one-fourth were physically inactive, around 6.2 per cent were overweight. Among other risk factors, more than half of them consumed salted and fried Indian savouries at least once a week.
A community-based national cross-sectional survey was conducted during 2017-18, in 1,402 households, with 1,531 adolescents' participation.
According to the study, at present, the daily use of tobacco was prevalent in 3.1 per cent of adolescents, 6.2 per cent were physically inactive, 1.8 per cent were overweight and obese. Youngsters living in urban areas are at higher risk than those from rural areas.
Schools, Colleges On Health Education
Only two-thirds of the participants claimed they received education on the importance of a healthy lifestyle and were briefed about the NCD risk factors.
Strengthen Policies To Avoid NCDs
With nearly 1.5 billion adolescents population in the world, India has the largest population. The primary motive of the study was to discover the diseases the youth is prone to as national evidence that would help frame the policies and strategies accordingly to avoid the NDCs.
The lead investigator of the study, Dr Prashant Mathur, said the study would help analyse the country's advancement towards the set NCD targets for 2025. "India needs to focus on strengthening existing policies, plan more effective risk reduction strategies, and health promotion programs specific to adolescents towards a healthy adulthood," The Indian Express quoted him as saying.