A Handy Book on Heart
New Delhi, 1 October: With heart catastrophe looming large, heart protection has become an overriding concern in India. You can protect your heart only when you know its ins and outs. The book ‘Know Your Heart’ by no nonsense science journalist Dinesh Sharma is a handy guide for understanding the ‘inner recesses’ of your own heart and the inclement ecosystem in which it is ticking.
The launch of the book was marked by the presence of those leading health experts who have profoundly influenced government heath policies. In a panel discussion on the occasion, they called for policy changes in several sectors ranging from food to transport in order to combat risk factors of heart disease in India.
The problem of rising numbers of heart disease in the country can’t just be tackled by the health sector alone as wrong policies in many other areas are contributing to this problem.
‘The problem of heart disease in India can be addressed through population-wide changes to tackle key risk factors like unhealthy diets, physical inactivity and tobacco, among others’, noted Dr K Srinath Reddy, President of the World Heart Federation. Prevention of non-communicable diseases is not getting attention that it deserves.
Dr Nata Menabde, representative of World Health Organization in India, felt that education and awareness can empower people to make right health choices when it comes to their lifestyles. “Large corporations making unhealthy products will continue their efforts, but we have to fight our way through them”.
Referring to promotion of junk food by industry, Sunita Narain, head of the Centre for Science and Environment, said the processed food industry is making all efforts to keep at bay harsh restrictions and measures like ban on celebrity endorsements of their products. “Sugar is the new tobacco”, she said.
“The latest ploy of the junk food industry is to project that real culprit for obesity and non-communicable diseases are physical inactivity and not junk food. They are projecting that it is alright to consume junk food as long as you exercise”, Narain cautioned.
The book exposes how wrong government policies are actually subsidizing ill-health, particularly risk factors of heart disease. “On one hand we have major risk factors – unhealthy foods, tobacco and physical inactivity, among others, and all health experts globally telling us reduce these risk factors to fight heart disease, and on the other hand we have government policies which are actively subsidizing these very risk factors. The book is an attempt to reveal how this is being done”, Sharma said. The book has been published by HarperCollins India.