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Malnutrition India's Biggest Risk Factor, Air Pollution at Second
15 November 2017, 06:03 | Silvia Roy
A traffic policeman wearing an anti-pollution mask mans traffic amid smog and air pollution in New Delhi on Monday. | PTI
Malnutrition continues to be the major risk factor driving the deaths and disability index high, more among women than men. This is the first time burden of disease has been studied at state-level.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has said achieving good health for all of country's population is an important goal of the government of India as a foundation for further social and economic development. This has huge implications for policymakers because it means that one health policy and uniform health schemes may not be workable for all the states.
The India State-level Disease Burden Initiative is a collaboration between the Indian Council of Medical Research, Public Health Foundation of India, and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, and experts and stakeholders now from close to 100 institutions across India. Over 200 experts from 100 Indian institutions participated in this initiative.
He said the data and results in this report of India state level disease burden initiative can serve as a useful guide to fine tuning health planning in each state of the country.
Though life expectancy at birth has improved at the national level, inequalities between states continue - ranging from 66.8 years in Uttar Pradesh to 78.7 years in Kerala for females, and 63.6 years in Assam to 73.8 years in Kerala for males in 2016.
Among the leading non-communicable diseases, the largest disease burden or Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALY) rate increase from 1990 to 2016 was observed for diabetes, at 80 per cent, and ischaemic heart disease at 34 per cent. DALY is years of healthy life lost due to premature death and suffering. But, in the states that recorded the highest number of such mortalities, such as Assam and Uttar Pradesh, the rates were four times that of the states with the lowest incidence, such as the relatively more prosperous Kerala.
The biggest change is seen in the overall disease pattern in the country.
Of the total disease burden, 61% was due to communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases in 1990, which dropped to 33% in 2016.
"The contribution of non-communicable diseases to health loss - fuelled by unhealthy diets, high blood pressure, and blood sugar - has doubled in India over the past two decades".
"This report will play a major role taking more specific action to improve the health and lives of the poor with special focus on the states that are relatively less developed". The contribution of most of the major non-communicable disease groups to the total disease burden has increased all over India since 1990, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, mental health and neurological disorders, cancers, musculoskeletal disorders, and chronic kidney disease. The disease burden due to unsafe water and sanitation has also reduced significantly in India, but this burden is still 40 times higher per person in India than in China. Contribution of communicable diseases to deaths in India reduced from 53.6 per cent to 27.5 per cent, while that of NCDs rose from 37.9 per cent to 61.8 per cent, the study says.
Titled "India State-level Disease Burden Report and Technical Paper", the comprehensive report indicated that although the disease burden due to malnutrition dropped in India substantially since 1990, it was still responsible for 15 per cent of the total disease burden in 2016.
The study mentioned that the burden due to outdoor air pollution is highest in northern states, including Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Bihar, and West Bengal.
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