Nearly half of a group of healthy individuals living in a Delhi slum were found to be overweight while 17.2 per cent were obese, according to a recent survey. Almost 64.9 per cent of 314 individuals who were assessed during a camp were found either over-weight or obese, which are important risk factors for heart and vascular diseases. Around 20.1 per cent reported use of tobacco products while 37.3 pc had high blood pressure. Around 500 individuals were evaluated and examined for body mass index (BMI), obesity, blood pressure measurement, spot blood sugar, blood lipids and an electrocardiogram (ECG) was done at a recent camp by a team of doctors from Batra Hospital and Medical Research Centre (BHMRC) out of which the data was available for 314 individuals.
“Around 37.3 per cent of the persons had high blood pressure as per the current Indian definition of 140/90 mms Hg. “Here it needs to be mentioned that the US definition has changed recently to above 130/80 mms Hg and going by that parameter, it would be an alarming figure of around 50 per cent,” said Dr Upendra Kaul, Chairman and Dean Academics and Research at the Batra Hospital and Medical Research Center(BHMRC). Analysis of the blood sugar levels taken at health camp revealed a disturbing pattern which warrants serious attention from healthcare workers.
66.1 per cent of the persons had blood sugar levels between 101-200 mg/dL(average 137 mgs/ dl) while 8.5 per cent had blood sugar levels above 200 mg/dL with only 11 per cent of them reporting a family history of diabetes.
Also, 14.5 pc had borderline high cholesterol levels (200-239 mg/dL) while 3.2 per cent of the evaluated individuals had high cholesterol levels, exceeding 240 mg/dL. ECG performed on them found that 8.9 per cent of them had definite ECG abnormalities indicating a very high probability of a past cardiac event without any history (silent attacks). Minor ECG changes were seen in around 21.5 er cent subjects. “Based upon our analysis we found that taken together, approximately 71 per cent of the subjects had one or more comorbidities contributing to the elevated risk for a cardiac episode in this apparently healthy population.
“The implication of these findings in low income population, many of whom are working as daily wagers and involved in menial jobs, is obvious. This also an alarm bell as about half of the surveyed population was young (between the ages of 25 to 44 years only). Health education and imparting knowledge regarding healthy life style should be undertaken in this area on top priority,” Kaul said. 51.3 per cent of the 314 persons evaluated at the camp were in the age group of 25-44 years, 34.4 per cent were in the age bracket of 45-64 years while only 6.7 per cent were 65 years and above. Only 7.6 per cent of those evaluated belonged to the age group of 5-14 years.