Half of urban Indians consider themselves overweight: Survey

Over half of urban Indians consider themselves overweight, though dieting is not popular.

New Delhi: With growing health consciousness, over half of urban Indians consider themselves overweight, though despite the weight concerns dieting is not popular amongst Indians, said a health survey released Wednesday.

According to the Health and Wellness Consumer Survey done by Nielsen, Indians are concerned about their health mainly due to the financial complications they will face during illness.

"Over half of urban Indians consider themselves overweight. However, despite the weight concerns, dieting is not a health practice that is popular amongst Indians with only 23 percent having occasionally dieted," said Arti Verma, associate director, client solutions, Nielsen.

Nearly five in 10 Indians consider pollution a major factor affecting health.

"About 38 percent Indians believe that bad food habits like consuming junk, oily food and adulterated food have an adverse affect on health and 36 percent believe that bad, irregular habits like consumption of alcohol/cigarettes and lack of exercise and nutritious diet are factors contributing to poor health," she said.

The survey found a split in attitude of Indians towards health with 53 percent showing pro-activeness and a slightly lesser 47 percent being passive about their health.

"The increasingly hectic lifestyle of Indians is taking a toll on their health, plus the cost of treating an illness has pushed Indians to take proactive steps to maintain their health," Verma said.

"We see that amongst the higher age groups and females, weight gain brings about a greater concern for health. However, the younger age groups are concerned about health when they see some reference points like advertisements about health issues or sick friend."

It has been found in the survey that about 23 percent of Indians have occasionally dieted.

For majority of Indians, good health and wellness means having "no illnesses" and more than nine in 10 Indians believe so.

"Other constituents of good health are seen to be having a fit body and having peace of mind. In the lower age groups, we see that having a fit body is considered slightly more important to having good health and wellness," she added.

When it comes to health foods, the top three attributes that the Indians are aware of are sugar free, whole grain and low fat.
Low fat oil and low fat milk are the items having highest percentage of awareness. They are also considered as the healthiest, while new words like organic and pro-biotic are yet to catch up among the Indians.

"Nielsen Health & Wellness Consumer study indicates that although a small percentage, but the young generation is conscious of their health and pre-disposed to health foods," said Verma.
The survey was done among 3,248 respondents, male and female, in the age group of 18-55 years. It was conducted in December 2009, covering 10 major cities.


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