New Delhi: Indians are consuming high levels of oils, fats and salts in their daily diets, exposing themselves to Non-Communicable Diseases, including coronary heart ailments, hypertension and diabetes, says a new report.
The intake of high fibre foods like fruits and vegetables which act as a shield against NCDs, is very low in India as compared to the recommended level of five servings or at least 400 grams daily, a publication by the Public Health Foundation of India, said.
By contrast, oil intake increased a whopping 50 per cent--from 18 grams a day in 1992 to 27 grams a day in 2005, while fat intake rose from 41 to 52 grams over the same period. High income groups have reported 32 per cent of their energy intake from fats alone, as against 17 per cent among low income groups, it said.
The publication, brought out on the eve of the first-ever UN High-Level Summit on NCDs beginning in New York on Monday, said protein consumption remained stagnant at 56 grams a day over the stated period while carbohydrate intake reduced from 75 to 71 grams a day.
Salt consumption, a strong determinant of high blood pressure and associated cardio-vascular diseases, has also been found to be very high across different regions of the
country, with the average intake ranging from 9 to 12 grams a day, much above the WHO recommended daily intake level of 5 grams or less and the National Institute of Nutrition`s recommended level of 6 grams or less.
Urban salt intake is much higher and is further set to increase due to rapid expansion of multi-national food chains, increasing the trend of eating out and easy availability of
ready made foods, the report said.
"Processed foods are anticipated to become a major sourceof salt intake in India, making it imperative for the government to initiate appropriate preventive public health
action," the report titled `Chronic Non-Communicable Diseasesin India: Reversing the Tide`, said.
It also reveals an increasing trend in edible oil consumption in India, which has risen from 5.8 million tonnes in 1990-92 to 9.7 million tonnes in 2000-2001 and further to
14.3 million tonnes in 2007-08, with a high proportion ofunhealthy oils, high in saturated and trans fats.
"Although national data on individual fat and oil intake is limited, aggregate consumption data clearly shows increase in oil and fat consumption," the 48-page report said.
Authored by K Srinath Reddy, President, Public Health Foundation of India, leading cardiologist D Prabhakaran and public health expert Sailesh Mohan, the document voices strong concerns over increasing food inflation and recommends anational policy to ensure easy availability of health foods like fruits.
"In the milieu of rising prices of fruits and vegetables,we underline the need for sound agricultural and pricing policy to ensure availability and affordability of such health
foods," the experts said.
The report also illustrates as to how even the more healthconscious South India is consuming much less fruits and vegetable than required, quoting a recent study which found the consumption of 265 grams a day, much lower than the required levels.
Data from seven states where the first Integrated Disease Surveillance Project was conducted, also indicated lower thanWHO recommended levels of fruit and vegetable intake. In Maharashtra, 76 per cent of those surveyed reported consuming
less than 5 servings a day and in Tamil Nadu, 99 per cent respondents also reported similar consumption.
The prevalence of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD), a majorcardio-vascular disease in India, ranges from 6.6 per cent to 12.7 per cent in urban and 2.1 to 4.3 per cent in rural areas among those aged 20 years and above.
India currently has as estimated 30 million CHD patients. The stroke prevalence is reported to be between 334 and 424 per one lakh population in urban India and 244 to 262 per one lakh in rural India and the number is on the rise, the report said.
High blood pressure patients` figure is projected to nearly double from 118 million in 2000 to 213 million in 2025.
Besides, India is set to become the world`s diabetes capital and already houses 51 million diabetics at present. Cancer cases are detected to the tune of 8 lakh every year, it added.