A Comprehensive Essay on Lifestyle Diseases in India

The nature of disease incidence has changed in India over the decades. A few decades ago, infectious diseases affected and affected millions of people in India. With improvements in the standards of living, industrialization, urbanization, and the consequent change in lifestyle and dietary choices, there is no greater risk of non-communicable diseases or lifestyle diseases.

These diseases significantly affect people of all age groups. Lifestyle diseases include conditions such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, and even cancer. 

A Comprehensive Essay on Lifestyle Diseases in India

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The 21st century’s rapid and unhealthy lifestyle is responsible for the occurrence of lifestyle diseases. This includes tobacco use, alcohol, fast food diet, insufficient physical activity, extended office working hours, lack of proper sleep, etc.

Major Lifestyle diseases in India

India has undergone a major epidemiological transition in consonance with socio-economic development. 

The share of non-communicable lifestyle diseases has increased in India from 37.6 to 618% The major lifestyle diseases in India are heart disease, pulmonary disease, and stroke. 

Study shows that more than 1.78 million cases of cancer are likely to be added each year by the year 2022. Every 12th person in India is suffering from diabetes.  India ranks second on the list of countries having diabetes patients. Children are suffering from asthma, strokes, heart diseases, etc. 

The following are the major lifestyle diseases of India:


The number of overweight and obese people in India has doubled between 2005 and 2015. Among the individuals aged between 15-50 years, 21% of women and 18.6% of men have been found overweight. 

A Comprehensive Essay on Lifestyle Diseases in India

Image credit: iStock 

The presence of obesity is mainly due to obesogenic chemicals such as MSG, Bisphenol, etc. Presently, lower taxes on unhealthy foods, inadequate health labeling, and lower physical activity have led to a higher incidence of obesity.

Mental Health

More than 12% of the country’s adult population suffers from some kind of mental illness. At least 150 million people in the country are in active need of medical intervention due to mental illnesses. 

The main reasons for the higher incidence of mental illness are the following ; 

  • changing diets
  • lack of social support
  • stress
  • fatigue
  • intake of large amounts of sugar has also been linked to mental diseases


More than 1.73 million cases of cancer are likely to be recorded each year in India. Household items including chemicals and cosmetics containing cancer-causing compounds are responsible for cancers. 

Environmental exposure to toxins is also the reason for many types of cancer. The main triggers responsible for cancer are tobacco, alcohol, air pollution, and diets rich in meat and low in vegetables. These are relatively unaddressed as compared to other diseases.

Heart Diseases

Cardiovascular diseases are responsible for a large number of deaths in India each year. 

In urban areas, young and middle-aged people are at risk of cardiovascular diseases. The main cause of heart disease is a lack of physical activity and the absence of green spaces in many areas. 

Pedestrian and cycling tracks are not adequate. Depression is also a risk factor causing cardiovascular diseases. Heart rhythm is also affected due to changes in the central nervous system and other hormonal changes.

Hormonal Disorders

One-twelfth of India’s population is diabetic Hyperthyroidism cases are also on the rise in India. Data is not available yet for several hormonal disorders. Hormonal disorders can occur due to exposure to toxins, air pollution, and foods rich in fats, sugar, and salt. 

There is a poor understanding of hormonal disorders in India. There are currently no policies that reduce the consumption of processed foods, increase physical activity among people of all ages and reduce exposure to certain chemicals changing the hormonal balance.

Causes of lifestyle disease

The causes of lifestyle diseases can be categorized into three broad categories:

Modifiable Risk Factors 

Behavioral risk factors such as excessive use of alcohol, bad food habits, eating and smoking tobacco, physical inactivity, prolonged wrong body posture, and disturbed biological clock have increased the likelihood of contracting non-communicable lifestyle diseases. 

Stress-related work, modern occupational desk jobs is a potential risk factor associated with lifestyle diseases. Excessive use of sodium and sugars in the diet has resulted in an increased rate of death due to lifestyle diseases. 

The use of tobacco and alcohol is also causing rising incidences of deaths among the vulnerable population.

Non-modifiable Risk Factors

It leads to major changes in the ability of the body to keep away from diseases. Age, race, gender, and genetic makeup are major factors that affect the immunity of a person. Different races have different genetic makeup. 

Males and females are affected separately due to differences in physical and mental setups. As age increases, people tend to be less immune to various diseases. Increasing physical activity reduces the chances of contracting lifestyle diseases.

Metabolic Risk Factors

Metabolic risk factors include increasing blood pressure, obesity, increasing blood glucose levels, and increasing levels of fat. These factors aggravate the harmful effects of lifestyle diseases as people become more vulnerable to lifestyle diseases. 

Slow metabolism because of these risk factors weakens the immunity that occurs due to changes in the environment and conditions.

Tips to keep India healthy and free from lifestyle diseases

Access to low-quality and poor nutrition fast food, affordable sugary foods, and lack of physical activity has increased the growth of lifestyle diseases. Everyone should focus on the following aspects to keep India free from lifestyle diseases:

Improving Food Habits

Government should restrict low-quality fast food in the market. Policymakers should formulate a national policy that promotes lower intake of sugars and salty foods. Government should spread awareness to people to consume less fat-rich food instead of foods that have more fat.

Exercise Habits

Regular exercise keeps the metabolism high and prevents the occurrence of diseases. 

Mental Support

Regular mental and social support is necessary for mental patients so that none feels dejected and depressed. Lack of mental and socio-economic support aggravates lifestyle disease incidence among the vulnerable population. 

Avoiding Tobacco and Alcohol Use

Avoiding smoking and alcohol use is an important step in preventing non-communicable lifestyle diseases. Alcohol, smoking, and eating tobacco also increase the likelihood of contracting lifestyle diseases.

Educational Interventions

People should more aware of healthy lifestyles. Teachers should teach at the school and college levels about this awareness. This will help in changing the lifestyle and increasing physical activities.

Regular exercise, eating green leafy vegetables, good food habits, etc can prevent these lifestyle diseases.

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