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Home > India > Business > PTI > Report

Lifestyle diseases may cost India $237 billion by 2015

May 19, 2008 17:39 IST

India could incur losses to the tune of $237 billion by 2015 due to a rise in lifestyle diseases like diabetes, stroke and cancer because of unhealthy workplaces, a new WHO report has said.

The economic loss in India, which was $8.7 billion in 2005, is projected to rise to $54 billion in 2015, according to the report 'Preventing Communicable Diseases in the Workplace through Diet and Physical Activity.'

The projected loss for China -- the other fast developing country -- is a massive $558 billion, while the estimated figure for Russia and the United Kingdom is $33 billion.

The estimated income loss in Brazil in 2015 would be $9.3 billion, while in Pakistan $6.7 billion, Nigeria $1.5 billion and Canada $1.5 billion.

Promoting the concept of a healthy workplace, the report has said targeting physical inactivity and unhealthy dietary habits are effective in improving health-related outcomes such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk factors.

The report was presented to the World Health Assembly in Geneva on Monday.

This report, the outcome of an event jointly organised by the World Health Organisation and the World Economic Forum, summarises the current evidence available in addressing the different dimensions of the workplace as a key setting for interventions designed to prevent Non-Communicable Diseases through diet and physical activity.

Enhancing employee productivity, improving corporate image and moderating medical care costs are some of the arguments that might foster senior management to initiate and invest in programmes prompting healthy workplaces.

In 2005, an estimated 35 million people died of non- communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes.

Around 80 per cent of these deaths occur in low and middle-income countries that also have to deal with the burden of infectious diseases, maternal and perinatal conditions and nutritional deficiencies.

Key elements of successful Workplace Health Programme (WHP) programmes include establishing clear goals and objectives, linking programmes to business objectives, strong management support, effective communication with and involvement of employees at all levels of development and implementation of the WHP programme.

The document goes in to say that addressing diet and physical activity in the workplace has the potential to improve the health status of workers, contribute to a positive and caring image of the company, improve staff morale; reduce staff turnover and absenteeism, enhance productivity and reduce sick leave, health plan costs and workers' compensation and disability payments.

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