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NEW DELHI: Air pollution, hypertension, tobacco use, poor diet and high blood sugar levels were the top-five riskfactors for death in India in 2019 according to a new study.

The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study, published in the Lancet journal on Friday, assessed more than 286 causes of death and 369 diseases and injuries in more than 200 countries and territories across the world.

It noted that India has gained more than a decade of life expectancy since 1990, but with wide inequalities between states.

According to the researchers, including Srinivas Goli from the Indian Institute of Public Health Gandhinagar, life expectancy in India has risen from 59.6 years in 1990 to 70.8 years in 2019, ranging from 77.3 years in Kerala to 66.9 years in Uttar Pradesh.

However, they said the increase in ‘healthy life expectancy’ in India has not been as dramatic as the growth of life expectancy since “people are living more years with illness and disability.

The study found that the largest contributors to increasing health loss in India over the last 30 years were non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like ischaemic heart disease, COPD, diabetes, and stroke.

In 2019, the research noted that the top five riskfactors for death in India were air pollution (contributing to an estimated 1.67 million deaths), high blood pressure (1.47 million), tobacco use (1.23 million), poor diet (1.18 million), and high blood sugar (1.12 million).

According to the researchers, over the past decade there has been more than 0.5 per cent annual increase in the exposure to several highly preventable risks such as obesity, high blood sugar, alcohol use, and drug use globally.

They warned that the greatest cumulative impact on health comes from the striking rise in metabolic risks like high blood sugar, hypertension, and high cholesterol, which have risen 1.5 per cent a year since 2010, and account for nearly 20 per cent of total health loss worldwide in 2019.

The study noted that these metabolic risks have grown by a staggering 50 per cent since 1990, and are responsible for a huge number of deaths globally — with high blood pressure contributing to 1 in 5 deaths (almost 11 million) in 2019, followed by high blood sugar (6.5 million deaths), high BMI (5 million), and high cholesterol (4.4 million).

The scientists said several of the riskfactors and NCDs highlighted by the study, including obesity and diabetes are associated with increased risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19.

In the South Asia region, they said non-communicable diseases now contribute to more than half of the years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death, which was dominated by infectious, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases 30 years ago.

Citing an example, the researchers said 58 per cent of the total disease burden in India is now due to non-communicable diseases, up from 29 per cent in 1990, while premature deaths due to NCDs have more than doubled from 22 to 50 per cent.

According to the study, hypertension is the third leading risk factor after air pollution, responsible for 10-20 per cent of all health loss in eight states in India, primarily in the south.

“Most of these riskfactors are preventable and treatable, and tackling them will bring huge social and economic benefits,” said study lead author Christopher Murray, Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in the US.

“We are failing to change unhealthy behaviours, particularly those related to diet quality, caloric intake, and physical activity, in part due to inadequate policy attention and funding for public health and behavioural research,” Murray said.

The Times of India is an Indian English-language daily newspaper owned by The Times Group. It is the third-largest newspaper in India by circulation and largest selling English-language daily in the world. according to Audit Bureau of Circulations.

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INDIA

Covid: Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka too say they’ll give free vaccine doses

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NEW DELHI: A Covid vaccine might still be some time away, but it’s already raining promises of free vaccination across states. Hours after BJP’s election manifesto for Bihar offered free coronavirus vaccination to all if the NDA retained office, at least two states — Tamil Nadu and Karnataka — vowed to vaccinate every citizen for free while a third — Madhya Pradesh — reserved its commitment for the poor.

Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami was first off the blocks, promising free vaccination for all as and when a mass-produced vaccine was made available.

DMK president M K Stalin promptly accused the CM of “trying to show off”, saying it was the responsibility of any government to safeguard people during a pandemic by making available critical vaccines free of cost.

“EPS did not have the heart to offer a dole of Rs 5,000 to the common people who lost their livelihood (during the lockdown)” he said. With bypolls to 28 MP seats just 11 days away, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan jumped onto the bandwagon late on Thursday and announced it would be free for the poor.

“BJP has said a very good thing in Bihar. And I am saying the same thing here. Let the corona vaccine come, every poor person in MP will be administered the vaccine for free,” he said at a poll rally in Gwalior. Around 9.30pm, he took to Twitter to reiterate the promise, inviting criticism from Congress.

In Karnataka, the vaccine would be free for everyone if and when commercially available, health commissioner Pankaj Kumar Pandey said. State health and family welfare minister K Sudhakar said the state was working with experts on a plan of action for distribution of the vaccine, including determining which vulnerable groups must be covered first.

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INDIA

Terrorism enemy of humanity: LG

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SRINAGAR: LG Manoj Sinha on Thursday said October 22 will always remain a black day during his inaugural address of the national symposium and exhibition on “Memories of 22 October, 1947” in the city.

Sinha said we must make both the elderly and the younger generation aware that Pakistan not only shed the blood of the people of Kashmir, on this fateful epoch of history, it tried to divide us, which we have foiled with our unity and goodwill.

The LG said the two-day symposium and exhibition is a medium to expose the atrocities inflicted by the Pakistani government and its army upon innocent women, children, and men of Jammu & Kashmir on October 22, 1947.

“Even after 73 years, the pain and terrors of Operation Gulmarg of Pakistan are fresh in our memories,” Sinha said.

The two-day event on 22nd and 23rd October is being organized by the National Museum Institute of History of Art, Conservation and Museology at SKICC, Srinagar.

A publication, Memories of 22 October 1947, was also launched on the occasion.

Speaking on the representations received from more than 100 prominent people across J&K regarding protection and restoration of places with heritage significance like Mubarak Mandi, Jammu, and Shergarhi, Srinagar, the LG reiterated the government’s commitment towards conservation and protection of the rich culture and heritage of J&K.

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INDIA

After BJP’s Bihar poll promise, MP CM Shivraj says will give free vaccine to poor

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BHOPAL: Taking a cue from BJP in Bihar who announced on Thursday to provide free Covid vaccine to the poor in the state, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan said that poor families in the state will get free Covid-19 vaccine.

“BJP has said a very good thing in Bihar. And I am also saying the same thing here. Let the Corona vaccine come, every poor in Madhya Pradesh will be administered free vaccine,” chief minsiter Chouhan announced during a poll rally in Gwalior on Thursday evening.

He further said, “I want to save from Corona, then poor will be saved first. we will also try to make arrangements for the rest as well. The BJP government is for the development”.

However, after chief minister’s announcement in Gwalior, an official tweet by Chouhan stated that Corona vaccine will be administered to all citizens in Madhya Pradesh. But, the government later clarified that CM had made the announcement for only poor.

“We have controlled the Corona infection to an extent but, vaccine is the only cure for it and vaccine should be given to the public,” read the tweet by CM.

The Congress though raised objections to the chief minister’s remarks and said that Chouhan’s statement was confusing. “Earlier the chief minister said that Corona vaccine would be provided only to poor families. In his tweeted posted later, he said Covid-19 vaccine will be given to all citizens. This is confusing,” said Congress state media coordinator, Narendra Saluja.

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