Ac­cel­er­at­ing the con­trol of non com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases

Bhutan Times - - Editorial -

In an av­er­age Bhutanese con­sumes 9 gm of salt against the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion rec­om­men­da­tions of less than 5 gm daily. This puts the av­er­age Bhutanese on the high risk against the non com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases. The use of to­bacco, con­sump­tion of al­co­hol, diet with high salt in­take and lack of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity are the causes of non com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases.

The fact has been re­vealed with the launch­ing of the fact sheet sur­vey on non com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­ease risk fac­tors for Bhutan. The sur­vey was car­ried out from April – June 2014. Bhutan car­ried out Step 1, Step2 and Step 3. So­cial de­mo­graphic and be­hav­ioral in­for­ma­tion was col­lect in Step 1, Phys­i­cal mea­sure­ments such as height; weight and blood pres­sure were col­lected in Step 2. Bio chem­i­cal mea­sure­ments were col­lected to as­sess salt in­take, blood glu­cose and choles­terol lev­els in Step 3.

The sur­vey was a pop­u­la­tion based sur­vey of adults aged 18-69. A multi – stage strat­i­fied clus­ter sam­pling de­sign was used to pro­duce rep­re­sen­ta­tive data for the age range in Bhutan. A to­tal of 2,822 adults par­tic­i­pated in the sur­vey. The over­all re­sponse was 99%.

The re­port re­veals that 7.4 % of the peo­ple sur­veyed cur­rently smoke to­bacco with 10.8 % male and 3.1% fe­male. About 4.3% of the peo­ple sur­veyed use to­bacco daily with 6.00% in male and 2.1% in fe­males. The peo­ple us­ing smoke­less to­bacco is 19.7% with 26.5% males and 11.0% in fe­males. The av­er­age age for smok­ing starters is 19 for the males and 84.10% of the sur­veyed pop­u­la­tion smoked man­u­fac­tured cig­a­rettes from the group the daily smok­ers.

More that 42% of the pop­u­la­tion who has been sur­veyed cur­rently drink al­co­hol in the past 30 days with 50.00% male and 32.8% fe­males. About 22.4% are en­gaged in heavy episode drink­ing for 6 or more drinks on any oc­ca­sion in the past 30 days. The male per­cent­age is 29.0% and 14. % with the fe­males.

With re­gard to the con­sump­tion of fruit and veg­eta­bles more than 67% of the peo­ple sur­veyed don’t con­sume suf­fi­cient fruits and veg­eta­bles. About 7.8% of the peo­ple sur­veyed al­ways or of­ten add salt to their food be­fore eat­ing or as and when eat­ing and 11.1% al­ways or of­ten eat pro­cessed foods with high salt in­take.

Nearly 49% of the sur­veyed pop­u­la­tion are not en­gaged in any vig­or­ous ac­tiv­ity and 6.4 % doesn’t have suf­fi­cient phys­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties with 3.9% in male and 9.6% in fe­males. 27% of men and 40% of women are over­weight and obese. About 36% have raised blood pres­sure and one of three hy­per­ten­sive is not treated for high blood pres­sure.

The non com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases are pre­ventable. Peo­ple must change their eat­ing habits, re­duce the con­sump­tion of al­co­hol and to­bacco and do some phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity daily. This will not only make the pop­u­la­tion health­ier but save funds for other ben­e­fi­cial projects.

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