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Young professionals grapple with unhealthy lifestyles.

Byline: Times News Service

MUSCAT Eoe1/4" Ask Asma Al Busaidi what she ate for lunch, and the 30-year-old accountant with ADINC, Oman, will give you a reply thatEoe1/4aos as fast as the food that comprises her meals in office. Her busy schedule doesnEoe1/4aot leave her with enough time for a proper meal, and though she tries to bring food from home, itEoe1/4aos not always possible. Eoe1/4EoIt is generally a quick bite Eoe1/4" anything from a falafel sandwich to chicken biryani,Eoe1/4A[yen] she says.

Asma is not alone. Complexities of day-to-day living are taking a toll on the young generation without them realising it. Doctors in Oman will vouch for that, having witnessed an upsurge in lifestyle diseases among young professionals of late.

Eoe1/4EoThere is a definite rise in lifestyle-centric diseases, not only among professionals, but more alarmingly, in teens too. Diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol problems have reached epidemic proportions, resulting in an increase in cardiovascular and cerebrovascular problems,Eoe1/4A[yen] says Dr D. N. Joshi, senior physician and medical administrator, Al Rimah Medical Centre. Eoe1/4EoThe disease profile for a particular age that we used to find during our training days, is changing fast,Eoe1/4A[yen] he adds.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO) reports, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the world and in the Gulf. A study shows that more than 50 per cent of heart attacks occur in asymptomatic people (showing no symptoms of heart problems).

So where are the young people going wrong Eoe1/4EoStress at work, bad food habits and sedentary lifestyle are the main reasons for health problems among young people,Eoe1/4A[yen] explains Dr Rami Neemtallah, consultant cardiologist, Muscat Private Hospital.

Eoe1/4EoToday, we see patients in the age group of 25-35 years, coming with health problems. There is a high prevalence of diabetes and heart diseases in the 30-35 years age bracket. We are also witnessing an increase in the number of young Omanis coming in with problems, as they are genetically prone to heart diseases and diabetes,Eoe1/4A[yen] he observes.

At KIMS Hospital, diabetes and hypertension are among the most common health complaints in young people. Eoe1/4EoWe see many youngsters coming to our hospital with lifestyle diseases,Eoe1/4A[yen] says Pradeep Balakrishnan, manager, relations, KIMS.

To check this disturbing trend, hospitals in Oman have lined up special executive health plans, keeping in mind the specific problems among todayEoe1/4aos young professionals. Muscat Private Hospital, for instance, has an executive health screening (EHS) programme for both men and women. The package includes a comprehensive medical evaluation, comprising a full review of medical history, lifestyle habits and a complete physical examination with focus on risk factors for heart disease and cancer (blood pressure, weight).

At KIMS Hospital, there is a corporate counter that takes care of various health check-up packages. Eoe1/4EoWe have a fast track consultation for corporate executives who are pressed for time,Eoe1/4A[yen] informs Balakrishnan.

There is also a wellness wing in the hospital that takes care of activities in the area of holistic wellbeing for men, women and children.

According to doctors, the most common problems among young people today, are obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, osteoarthritis and depression. And most of them are not even aware of the risk factors, potentially harmful habits and steps to counter them. Naturally, it is the lack of awareness that has turned out to be the biggest obstacle to having a healthy lifestyle.

To get over this hurdle, most hospitals in Oman conduct awareness programmes on lifestyle diseases. Eoe1/4EoWe offer educational sessions to corporate houses to build awareness among professionals on the importance of early detection, screening and preventive medication,Eoe1/4A[yen] says Vidya Rani, manager (business development and marketing), Muscat Private Hospital.

Al Rimah Medical Centre provides individual counselling, surveillance and follow-up, after ruling out secondary causes. Industry experts are of the opinion that spreading awareness is not the responsibility of hospitals alone.

It should be a joint effort of the corporate sector, educational institutions and the health sector. Arranging talks at schools, colleges and companies will help in generating awareness, they say. The corporate sector is all ears. No wonder, hospitals are approached by corporates to organise talks for their staff on healthy lifestyles. Eoe1/4EoBut greater commitment and investment are required from the companies to offer health screening facilities to their employees,Eoe1/4A[yen] averse Rani.

However, there are challenges to be overcome. Eoe1/4EoAs a private hospital, the main challenge for us, is the cost involved in providing health screening programmes. Insurance companies do not approve health screening packages and companies are not yet ready for investment on health screening for their staff,Eoe1/4A[yen] she says.

Industry experts know how big a challenge it is, to educate people that spending on health is the most valuable and long-lasting investment.

To create awareness among employees, KIMS has tied up with Khalid bin Ahmed and Sons, Unique Trading and Contracting.

Eoe1/4EoRecently we had a health session for Suhail Bahwan employees on occupational injuries,Eoe1/4A[yen] says Balakrishnan.

For top bosses of Oman Air, BankMuscat and NBO, Muscat Private Hospital offered free executive health screening. Eoe1/4EoWe are creating awareness about the investment on health. Money spent on prevention will be much more economical than money spent on curing the disease,Eoe1/4A[yen] says Rani.

Well, hereEoe1/4aos to a healthier Oman!

Muscat Press and Publishing House SAOC 2009

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:7OMAN
Date:Dec 4, 2009
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