Saturday, 20 October 2012

Corporate India is not up to the mark !

Mumbai: At a time when leisure time physical activity — or LTPA, as it is increasingly being called — is emerging as the global mantra for health, urban India seems clued out. A new survey suggests that one of the reasons that Corporate India is sluggish could be the poor levels of physical activity among its white-collar workforce. About 60% of the 17,000 corporate employees who participated in the pan-India survey admitted to exercising three times a week and that, too, for less than 30 minutes at a stretch. The benefit of a brisk walk or the power of 10,000 steps daily in shaping one’s health is clearly not popular as yet here. 

In corporate India, the daily step count rarely crosses 3,000. “The average number of steps that urban Indians take would be between 2,500 and 3,000, especially if they don’t take the public transport that entails walking across bridges and platforms,” said Dr Aashish Contractor, a preventive cardiologist at Asian Heart Institute in Bandra Kurla Complex. LTPA is different from a planned exercise regimen. Instead of pumping iron, the World Health Organisation has said people can be healthy by being active — like walking briskly, skipping and swimming— for up to 30 minutes every day. A study in Lancet recently estimated that inactivity caused 6 to 10% of all deaths from major non-communicable diseases such as coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and breast and colon cancers.


  • Over 60% exercise 3 days a week Over 58% exercise for less than 30 minutes a day 
  • Over 77% take less than 10,000 steps a day* 
  • Over 43% are sitting for 8 hours or more a day Over 44% rate their sleep as less than restful 94% eat less than 3 pieces of fruit a day 84% eat less than 3 servings of vegetables a day 
*10,000 steps = 6.4 km (approx) 

*17,000 respondents polled across 8 Indian cities 

HEALTH MATTERS Not even 5k steps a day? Sedentary life 
It showed that inactivity caused 5.3% of the 57 million deaths that occurred worldwide in 2008. The idea of underlining the problem was to show that the solution was simple: increase in leisure time physical activity. “Research has shown that leisure time physical activity is beneficial for all,” said Dr Contractor. In fact, the journal of the American College of Sports Medicine has categorized people on the basis of the number of steps they take: people who take less than 5,000 steps a day are sedentary, those who take between 5,000 and 7,500 are low on activity, those taking between 7,500 and 10,000 are somewhat active and the active ones take between 10,000 and 12,000 steps a day. In the 60s, Japanese walking clubs adopted a local pedometer’s nickname for their product —manpo-kei (translated as ten thousand step meter) — as the standard. The Japanese mantra of 10,000 steps a day translates into walking 6.4 km a day. The survey shows as much: 77% of the respondents admitted that they fail to take more than 10,000 steps a day. The reason is not hard to find: around 43% confessed to sitting for eight hours or more a day. Moreover, while doctors say five servings of vegetables and fruits daily can keep heart diseases at bay, the corporate sector is not a follower. Around 94% said they ate less than “3 pieces of fruit” a day and 84% said they ate less than 3 servings of vegetables. 
The Lancet’s special issue on physical activity just ahead of the London Olympics said physical activity is a neglected dimension of prevention and intervention worldwide, especially in low- and middle-income nations. “One problem is that physical activity is often perceived only in the context of controlling obesity.”

Article Credits: Malathy Iyer TNN, Snippets from an article that appeared in the Times of India FP, Mumbai.

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