‘Fit India is timely, can stop disease tsunami’: WHO official on PM’s move

By enhancing individual health, physical activity helps lower healthcare costs. Its promotion – especially in culturally relevant and familiar forms – should be a core part of preventive health everywhere.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Fit India movement has come at the right time and is in sync with World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) recommended actions, the global body’s regional director for South-East Asia Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh has said.

In an interview with Sanchita Sharma, Dr Singh talked about the benefits of staying active and fit.

Here are excerpts from the interview.
Watch: PM Modi launches ‘Fit India Movement’, says ‘it’s a step towards healthy India’

It’s scientifically established that regular and adequate physical activity improves muscular and cardiorespiratory fitness, helps control weight and the risk of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Physical activity also helps in preventing depression and promoting mental health – an increasingly prominent concern both globally and in the World Health Organization South East Asia Region (WHO-SEARO), of which India is a part.

By enhancing individual health, physical activity helps lower healthcare costs. Its promotion – especially in culturally relevant and familiar forms – should be a core part of preventive health everywhere.

NCDs kill an estimated 8.9 million people in the south East Asia Region every year, with around 4.4 million succumbing to them prematurely. Even a marginal increase in physical activity would alter these figures dramatically, saving individuals, communities and countries both emotional and financial pain.

Are children active enough?

Children aged 5-17 years require at least 60 minutes of moderate-vigorous activity daily, while adults require at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity weekly. However, at present, an estimated 70% of boys and 80% of girls in SEARO report insufficient physical activity. Nearly one-third of adults do the same.

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