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.