Feed the undernourished, physically active Indian
By The New Indian Express
26th July 2012 12:38 AM
There is nothing surprising about the finding that Indians are more physically active than the people of the more developed countries. According to a study published in the reputed medical journal, Lancet, only 15.6 per cent of Indians were inactive compared to 63.3 per cent of Britishers, 60.2 per cent of Japanese, 54.7 per cent of Italians and 40.5 per cent of Americans. It will be a mistake, however, to see the figures as a sign of health consciousness because the simple explanation is that an overwhelming majority of Indians — 84.4 per cent — have no option but to work hard for a living, especially in the rural areas where 70 per cent of the population lives.
Perhaps the percentage relating to Indians would have been comparable with the Western nations and Japan if only the city dwellers were taken into account. Even then, large sections of construction workers and those engaged in the service sector would have tilted the scale in favour of those who were active. A key difference, of course, is the fact that the Western world and Japan use more labour-saving technology than does India. As a result, there is far less of the back-breaking drudgery there compared to India. The legal restrictions on the hours of work in the West and in Japan are another factor. In India, these are honoured more in the breach than in observance.
An interesting feature of the statistics is the much lower figure for the physically inactive in America compared to Europe and Japan. Since the US is as technologically advanced as them, if not more, the larger number of people who are physically active may point to the social stratification between the whites and blacks with the latter sharing a larger burden of the quotidian work load.
As for India, the high percentage of the physically active would have been a matter for satisfaction but for the possibility that many of them are undernourished and are in need, therefore, of periods of rest.
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