(GIST OF YOJANA) Youth & Health
(GIST OF YOJANA) Youth & Health
Youth & Health
- In India, the youth constitute nearly half of the country’s population. Youth largely contribute to the economic growth of the country as it is the most productive age group being employed in various sectors. Much of the economic growth potential of India is derived from the vibrant and highly skilled youth population in the country. Youth face a lot of health issues because of their physiological state, behaviors, diet, work and other factors, many of which are related to their behavioural habits.
Some of the health issues are:
1. Mental Health: The mental health is a major challenge in this age group due to various reasons including non-availability of mental health services as well as not recognising mental health issue as a reason to seek healthcare. Clinical depression has been one of the leading causes of illness and disability among young adults and adolescents, followed by suicide. The reasons include poor scholastic or workplace performance, violence, poverty and unemployment, stigma, marginalization and discrimination, humanitarian crises and the COVID-19 situation.
2. Alcohol and Drug Use: Alcohol and drug use, especially intravenous drug use is largely associated with various high risk behaviours that can cause communicable and non-communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and liver diseases, etc. Also, mental health is compromised in such individuals as well their family members due to financial burden that follows.
3. Tobacco Use: Majority of the individuals who use tobacco in any form (smoking or chewing) begin doing so in their adolescence. This is usually combined with alcohol dependence, increasing the risk of various illnesses significantly. Tobacco can cause cancer of oral cavity, throat, oesophagus and lungs and many other health issues. In addition, tobacco consumption increases the risk of hypertension, diabetes mellitus, heart diseases, stroke, vascular diseases and so on.
4. Physical Inactivity: It has been estimated that only 20 per cent of the young adults are known to exercise adequately or be involved in sports activities which are for longer than 30 minutes per day and five days a week. Inactivity is high especially among females owing to various factors. Less physical activity causes increase in risk factors and diseases including obesity, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, heart diseases and other chronic diseases. Physical inactivity can impact mental health adversely.
5. Diabetes and Hypertension: Diabetes is becoming potentially epidemic, with one in every 10 adult having diabetes. One in every five adults in India have hypertension. In both cases, majority are not aware that they have diabetes or hypertension.
6. Other Health Problems: These include injuries in the form of accidents, self harm, workplace accidents and so on. The violence in the form of interpersonal violence, domestic violence, workplace violence, bullying/ragging, sexual violence and so on can take place.
These health problems that have early onset during youth can have long bearing effects at older age, specially the chronic diseases. Early onset can reduce longevity, quality of life, can increase expenses and can lead to early complications, sometimes leading to death as well.
- There are three secrets of healthy life: balanced diet, regular physical activity and sufficient sleep. The youth often lack on one or more of these aspects. Though there has been a series of Government initiatives– from both health sector as well as other sectors, however, those are yet to catch the full attention of youth.
- The Ayushman Bharat programme with health and wellness centre component has focus on nirogi- or preventing illness by adoption of healthier lifestyle. ‘FIT India’ initiative is aimed at increasing exercise habits of people including youth (Box 1). All these initiatives have to find a place in a daily routine of youth and everyone else.
Making Health of Youth a Mass Movement
- This requires optimal utilisation of every possible avenue for improving health of this age group. It requires interventions at schools, colleges and workplaces amongst other. It demands that the school health services are strengthened and work as early intervention centres for dealing with the rising incidence of various disease in the current days. There is no structured and focused programme to promote health among college students. This is the age group which has queries and concerns— mostly unanswered— regarding the mental health, sexual health, drug as well as personal health concerns.
- Youth constitute around half of India’s population and are the foundation of country’s economic growth and development. Though, otherwise healthy population, the youth face a host of problems due to their age, behaviour and other factors which can have long-term effect during old age. Prevention of ill health effects in youth can have long-term benefits individually, at family level and at national level. The policies aimed at youth should be targeted at healthier lifestyle, adoption of regular physical activity and health prevention and promotion measures. Healthy youth today will make healthy nation tomorrow.
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