India may not rank high among countries with obese population, but Indians nevertheless are trailing the world in terms of working out and fitness. And that’s something that could have a long-term effect on risk through diabetes and obesity.

Some 30 percent of India’s 18-47 year-olds do not get any form of physical exercise or activity, a survey by Future Generali India found ahead of World Health Day. The survey tested 1,082 subjects and found that walking was the preferred form of exercise for those who actually managed some workouts, while a minor subsection also went to the gym daily.

A report in Mint says, “In the age group of 18-25 years, 33% did not exercise at all, while in the 26-46 years age group, around 40% of the people were not involved in any form of exercise.” But beyond these age groups, Indians are particularly keen on walking, especially from the age of 47 and onwards.

Thirty-50% of those Indians who do work out, prefer walking for 30 minutes a day at least for five days a week. This number drops to around 11-16% for brisk walks of one-hour daily. Surprisingly, Indians are also shy about regular health check-ups, and only visit doctors when they are unwell, not as a preventive or diagnostic measure.

“Customers do understand that healthcare costs have risen; however, they don’t go for regular health check-ups and prefer to visit the doctor only when they are unwell. Also, most of them feel the treatment and hospitalisation expenses are too high at the time of treatment of any critical illness; however they don’t consider buying health insurance,” said the survey.

World Health Day is on April 7 and the 2016 edition is focussed on diabetes and how it has gripped the world, and what can governments, individuals and institutions do to lessen its hold on modern life. One of the key statements from WHO this week has been about taking preventive and pre-emptive measures against diabetes by starting a fitness and diet education early on in an individual’s life. This lesson is likely to have a long-term effect on the person and their lifestyle choices. In many countries where obesity and diabetes are on the rise, the lack of early fitness and diet education has been cited as an issue, with individuals falling into the same pattern of sedentary lifestyle and poor diet as the previous generation.

That’s something India might have to worry about in the coming decades, if the problem of a exercise-less population keeps increasing. The answer is to get people enter the most friction-less workout program which doesn’t require huge cost expenditure, or infrastructure, and can be done independent of an expert present.

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