Monday, October 22, 2007

Punjab: Highest Prevalence of Obesity Among Women

Punjab and Delhi, which are among states with the lowest sex ratio, have the highest number of obese women in India, reveals a new government report. “Women in India, 2007”, compiled by the National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCD), say that 34 per cent of women in Delhi and 37.5 per cent in Punjab are obese — the highest for any state in India. These figures are based on a study on International Institute of Population Studies in 2006...The contrast in the health of Indian women shows up when female obesity in these three states is compared with the national average of 14 per cent or that of poorer states like Bihar (5.3 per cent), Jharkhand (5.6 per cent), Madhya Pradesh (8.6 per cent) and Chhattisgarh (6.7).
The article states that the skewed sex ratio (sex ratio in Delhi in 2001 was 865 for 1,000 boys and 820 in Punjab) and high rates of obesity among women suggests that females are looked after well. I'm not sure I follow that logic (I don't think skewed gender ratios means girls are being treated better as attested by higher rates of obesity... although it's an interesting link being made and I would like to look into it more) - but there are obvious environmental factors that impact these rates such as a lack of exercise and high fat, high carb diets. Perhaps it's time to put down that extra gulab jaman!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Study: Spirituality and Health in Punjabi Sikhs

From the Journal of Holistic Nursing:
The purpose of this study was to examine the interrelationship of health, illness, and spirituality for Punjabi Sikhs living in Canada. A grounded theory study with a convenience sample and use of snowballing technique provided a sample of 15 participants ranging in age from 20 to 70 years. Constant comparative method with dimensional analysis was used to analyze the data beginning with the first interview. The themes of being healthy and looking for the spiritual are described. Looking for the spiritual results in the person becoming spiritually strong and therefore being healthier, recovering from illness, or having the ability to feel comfortable when near death. Nurses who understand the interplay of spirituality and health can support Punjabi Sikhs in their food requirements, prayers, and feelings of hope and anguish during illness or life transitions.
Although the sample size was quite small, the link between spirituality, which plays a large role in most Sikh's lives, and better health outcomes is clear. There are lots of studies that support this connection. I don't have access to the full article, but look forward to reading the full study.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?

“Real people have problems with their lives as well as with their organs. Those social problems affect their organs. In order to improve public health, we need to improve society.” - Sir Michael Marmot, Chair, WHO Commission on the Social Determinants of Health
I just wanted to highlight a new documentary that is going to be shown on PBS in 2008:
Unnatural Causes is a four-hour documentary series produced by California Newsreel with Vital Pictures, Inc. Presented for PBS broadcast by the National Minority Consortia of Public Television. Public Impact Campaign in association with the Joint Center Health Policy Institute.

The documentary will discuss the socioeconomic and racial inequalities in health. The root to poor health outcomes are health disparities and social conditions into which we are born which largely impact how healthy we are:
The U.S. is one of the richest countries on the planet. Yet, we rank 30th in the world for life expectancy, worse than every other industrialized nation - and even less developed countries like Cuba, Malta, and Costa Rica. Why? Because inequality in America is - literally - taking years off our lives. This affects not just the poorest among us, but the richest too.
I would encourage you all to partake in the dialogue of health disparities.