Thimphu’s lifestyle

In 2007 the Ministry of Health conducted a survey in Thimphu to assess the state of non-communicable diseases in the capital. The results showed that we live dangerously. For example:

  • One out of every five adults consumed tobacco – they either smoked or used smokeless tobacco.
  • One third of the adult population consumed alcohol regularly. One third of them were associated with hazardous drinking and binging.
  • Most adults did not exercise to meet minimum health requirement. More than three-fourths of adults did not get any exercise at all during their free time.
  • Two thirds of the adult population did not eat adequate fruits and vegetables.

The results also showed that our sedentary and indulgent lifestyles were already causing needless suffering. For instance:

  • One out of every ten adults was receiving treatment for hypertension. One fifth of the adult population had raised blood pressure.
  • One tenth of the adult population was either diabetic or suffered immediate risk of developing diabetes.
  • Over half of the adults were overweight.

That was the story back in 2007. I wonder how it would look like today. It’s time for another survey, the results of which will probably force us to take non-communicable diseases seriously.

But some data is already available. The following table, prepared by Dr Gampo Dorji of the Department of Public Health, shows a disturbing trend.


Facebook Comments:


  1. Straight drive says

    Honourable OL,
    Thank you for providing this data on status of NCDs in Bhutan. From it, the most worrying piece is on the 65851 cases of transport/work related injuries, which makes up more than 2/3th of the cases. Most of these victims are young, healthy and bread earners for families. We need to put something in place to minise these incidences.
    At the moment in our country, there is no real law in place to find out the causes of deaths or injuries in these cases.
    Almost all RTAs are attributed to either speeding or vehicular failures and we donot bother to find out whether any form of natural disease or influences from drugs/alcohols/medications could have contributed to accidents.
    I m of the opinion that, like in other countries, thorough investigation of the victims, both dead and living, is needed in addition to the inspection of the vehicles, to find out the causes for the accidents.

  2. When road safety is discussed in Bhutan, it is only the road size, the traffic size and traffic rules that is focused. Other safety measures are beyond the sight of the policy makers, planners and the builders of raod in Bhutan. Look at the un-widened or the widened roads in the kingdom, the engineering term “Super elevation” is nowhere applied. Quite a number of over speeding, brake failure and foggy weather accidents could be prevented if this engineering dimension is implemented in the road structures.

    Very unfortunate for failure of many theories in the practice!


  1. […] why alcohol abuse is a leading cause of non-communicable diseases. That’s why alcohol-related diseases make up a whopping 27% of all hospital inpatients. And […]

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