68 percent working women suffer from lifestyle diseases: Assocham

March 7th, 2009 - 5:30 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 7 (IANS) More than two-third of working women in India suffer from lifestyle diseases, according to a survey conducted by an industry lobby on the eve of Women’s Day Sunday.
The study, released Saturday by the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Assocham), said 68 percent of working women surveyed in the age bracket of 21-52 years were found to be afflicted with lifestyle ailments such as obesity, depression, chronic backache, diabetes and hypertension.

As 27 percent of females in urban India are employed, their health issues are a major concern both for society and business, said the study, titled “Preventive Healthcare and Corporate Female Workforce”.

It said long hours and working under strict deadlines cause up to 75 percent of working women to suffer from depression or general anxiety disorder, compared to women with lesser levels of psychological demands at work.

Work pressure and deadlines have led 53 percent of the respondents to skip meals and go for junk food.

Women employed in sectors that demand more time such as media, knowledge process outsourcing and touring jobs are unable to take leave when unwell, and force themselves to work mainly due to job insecurity, especially during the current financial meltdown, the report said.

However, it said, factors such exposure to industrial pollutants and environmental toxins, poor quality of sleep, lack of exercise, sunlight exposure, poor nutrition, excessive intake of alcohol and drug abuse also cause depression.

“Women play vital and multiple roles, especially those who are employed, as a balance needs to be maintained by them both at home and workplace, thus ignorance of healthcare can have multiple implications on her surrounding environment such as her family, workplace and social network,” said the study.

Also hectic schedule of balancing workplace and home, along with balancing between social and personal requirements, lead to women ignoring their health. According to the chamber, 77 percent of respondents said they avoided routine check-ups.

It said 47 percent of respondents spend less than Rs.500 on healthcare in a year, while 22 percent spend in the range of Rs.500-Rs.5,000 as they suffer ailments such as obesity, depression and spondylosis.

Twenty-nine percent of the sample population spend in the range of Rs.5,000-Rs.50,000 on healthcare annually; they were found afflicted with high or low blood pressure, diabetes, heart diseases, asthma, urinary infection and arthritis.

Merely 2 percent spend more than Rs.50,000.

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