Healthy living report card for Asia Pacific is not good: Survey

According to the survey, 59% of Indians (lower than regional average of 67%) feel their health is not as good as it was 5 years ago, a prevalent sentiment even amongst those under 30 years

AIA Group Ltd has recently released Healthy Living Indices for 15 markets based on a pan-regional survey examining the healthy living habits of over 10,000 adults across Asia Pacific, including 1,018 respondents from India. The AIA Healthy Living Index was commissioned by AIA and conducted by TNS, a consumer research company.

The AIA Healthy Living Index, which surveyed people aged 18-65 years old in 15 markets, is based on these adults’ satisfaction with their health and the extent to which healthy habits form part of their routine.

The survey revealed an average Healthy Living index of only 61 (with nine markets showing indices of less than 60)—well below the maximum of 100, indicating that there is much room for improvement in terms of Asia-Pacific adults’ satisfaction with their health. India’s index of 61 is same as the regional average. According to the survey, 59% of Indians (lower than regional average of 67%) feel their health is not as good as it was 5 years ago, a prevalent sentiment even amongst those under 30 years. ‘Eat healthier food’, ‘happy frame of mind’, ‘good family relationship’, ‘manage one’s time well’ and ‘good work life balance’ are the most important contributors to healthy living in India.

Top health concerns in India are ‘not enough sleep’ and ‘weight too high’. Sleep deprivation in India is 1.7 hours–a little higher than the regional average of 1.3 hours. 24% of Indian adults want to lose weight. 64% of Indian adults say that they had a medical check up in past 12 months (slightly higher than the regional average of 56%). Majority of Indian adults say they would have health checks more often if these were not so expensive.

Mark Tucker, group chief executive & president of AIA said, “The results from the first AIA Healthy Living Index not only confirmed the importance of Healthy Living to people from all walks of life and all ages, but also provided valuable insight into the attitudes and behaviors of adults toward their own health.”

“According to our survey results, the Healthy living report card for Asia Pacific is not good. Adults across the region are not very satisfied with their own health, feel they are sleep deprived, believe they do not exercise enough and want to lose weight. Despite universal awareness of the importance of healthy living and the things they can do to lead a healthier life, many adults across the region have not turned such awareness into action,” Mr Tucker said.


Bharti Airtel, Idea, PFC to enter MSCI India index

The three new entrants on the MSCI Global Standard Index (India) would replace SAIL, Housing Development and Infrastructure (HDIL) and Indiabulls Real Estate, with effect from 30th November

New Delhi: MSCI, a leading provider of benchmark indices globally, has decided to rejig its India Index to include three new stocks—Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and Power Finance Corporation (PFC), reports PTI.

The three new entrants on the MSCI Global Standard Index (India) would replace SAIL, Housing Development and Infrastructure (HDIL) and Indiabulls Real Estate, with effect from 30th November.

In another change, MSCI has decided to remove two stocks of the Vijay Mallya-led UB group—Kingfisher Airlines and United Breweries Holdings—from its Small Cap Index for India, along with other changes in this index.

Besides, Bharti Airtel would also be included in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, along with Colombian firm Grupo Aval Acciones Pref and Chinese retailer Sun Art Retail Group.

All the changes would come into effect from 30th November and are part of a semi-annual index review for the MSCI Equity Indices, MSCI said in a statement.

Reacting to the news of their inclusion on the MSCI index, share prices of Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular and PFC, jumped up on the bourses in Mumbai.

Bharti Airtel rose by 0.42% in post-noon trade to Rs 403.15, Idea Cellular surged 4.49% to Rs98.90 and PFC was up 4.76% to Rs168.20 on the BSE.

At the same time, HDIL fell by 6.56 per cent to a low of Rs 73.35, Indiabulls Real Estate dropped 3.73 per cent to Rs 65.65 and SAIL slumped 6.06 per cent to Rs 93 on the BSE.

MSCI has also rejigged its MSCI Global Small Cap Indices, where it would add ten new Indian stocks -- Britannia Industries, Eros International, HDIL, Indiabulls Real Estate, Indian Overseas Bank, Lanco Infratech, M&M Financial, Patni Computer and Texmaco.

At the same time, as many as 47 Indian stocks would move out of the MSCI Global Small Cap Index. These include Kingfisher Airlines, Bajaj Finserv, Birla Corp, Dish TV, Great Offshore, GTL Ltd, ING Vysya, Jubilant Life Sciences, K S Oils, Pantaloon Retail and United Breweries Holdings.


Ayurvedic Death: Medicines adulterated with steroids and heavy metals- Part 1

Several so-called Ayurvedic medicines readily available are found to contain steroids and heavy metal, both harmful to the human body if taken in excess

Ayurvedic medicines given by the vaidyas – be it in the form of bhasma or churan-, which people swallow in with great faith, could contain steroid and toxic metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic. According to experts, such medicines sold under the ‘Ayurvedic’ preparations often contain steroids and metals, and if used beyond permissible limit could lead to nervousness, indigestion, chest pain, seizures and even coma.

This information was revealed in a Right to Information (RTI) application. Mumbai-based consumer activist Dr AR Shenoy, who has experience in testing adulteration in food and medicine industry, filed an application under the RTI Act. He sought information on analysis of Ayurvedic Drug samples for presence of steroids and toxic metals above permissible limit by the Ayurveda Research Centre of KEM Hospital, Mumbai.

In the reply, the Research Centre revealed that out of the 244 Ayurvedic samples that were analyzed for steroid 96 samples were tested positive. About 18 samples had more than one steroid and it detected steroids like Betamethasone, Dexamethasone, Hydrocortisone, and Prednisolone in these samples.

It also stated that out of the 80 Ayurvedic samples that were analyzed for heavy metal such as mercury, lead and arsenal above permissible limit, 42 were tested positive or contain metals above the limit.

“If the statistics provided by KEM regarding steroid spiked Ayurvedic formulations are taken as an indicator of the state of Ayurvedic malpractice in Mumbai, then every four out of 10 patients undergoing Ayurvedic treatment are probably in danger of steroid toxicity,” says Dr Shenoy.

The Department of Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH), has kept the permissible limits of lead, mercury or arsenal less than or equal to 0.5 parts per million (ppm).

Dr Shenoy points out that a study, conducted in 2008 for over 230 products (reported in the August issue of USA Today) found that around 20% of remedies (and 40% of rasa shastra medicines) purchased over the Internet from both US and Indian suppliers contained lead, mercury or arsenic.

“Seriously, this issue needs to be tackled in India considering the fact that according to WHO (World Health Organization), up to 80% of people in India use either Ayurveda or other traditional medicines. Due diligence and care is taken or permissible limits followed for Ayurvedic medicines that are exported abroad. However at the domestic level it is absent,” added Dr Shenoy.

Safety concerns have been raised about Ayurveda, with two US studies finding about 20% of Ayurvedic treatments tested contained toxic levels of heavy metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic. Other concerns include the use of herbs that contain toxic compounds and the lack of quality control in Ayurvedic facilities.

Experts say that such level of toxic metals is hazardous for human body. For instance, lead interferes with body’s metabolism and is toxic to many organs and tissues including heart, bones, intestines, kidneys, and reproductive system. It hinders development of nervous systems and in severe cases could lead to seizure, coma. Like the element mercury, another heavy metal, lead is a neurotoxin that accumulates both in soft tissues and in the bones. Lead poisoning has been documented from ancient Rome, ancient Greece, and ancient China. Long terms exposure to heavy mercury vapour can result in brain damage and even death.

Due to these concerns, the Government of India ruled that Ayurvedic products must specify their metallic content directly on the labels of the product, but, writing on the subject for Current Science, a publication of the Indian Academy of Sciences, MS Valiathan noted that "the absence of post-market surveillance and the paucity of test laboratory facilities in India make the quality control of Ayurvedic medicines exceedingly difficult at this time.

(This is a Part 1 of a series on adulterated Ayurvedic medicines)




3 years ago

Steroid is a medicine which can use in the positive as well for bad cause. Ayurvedic medicine can be help to reduce this problem.">Ayurvedic Treatments in India

Jogn Howard

5 years ago

All medicines including ayurvedic medicines should be brought under the control of the Food and Drugs Administration Authority. Every item should be appropriately labelled showing all the ingredients such as steriods, if any, and the type. It is scary to learn that ayurvedic medicines can contain ingredients that can be seriously harmful to health.


5 years ago

i am not clarrified about the types of steroid, because the best medicine in ayurveda, like aswagamdha and yasthimadhu all members of solanaceae are rich in phyto steroids. one more thing i want clarrification about the compenies who have manufactured said examined medicines are having experts with them about quality control and they have got legal permission from govt of india and various states.


5 years ago

This kind of articles are misleading. Please indicate such as the medicine name, manufacturer name, contents beyond prescribed limits etc. Then we will know which companies to avoid.

Also, please enlighten us if mercury etc are part of all regular auyurvedic medicines. If not why are they are included? Do they help the companies?

Please do not publish such incomplete articles. It appears as if all Ayurvedic Medicine manufacturers cheat.


5 years ago

For long we were afraid to use ayurvedic drugs. This article and the studies conducted in US shows our fears were not beyond doubts. Miracle cures can be achieved by using high doses of corticosteriods, but at the risk of side effects. All drugs should be labelled with a list of potential side effects. The chemist shops must have a qualified pharmacist employed. Do you agree?


5 years ago

I am not afraid.


5 years ago

While the article does raise concerns for the public, it would be interesting to know how many actual cases of toxicity have been identified to be caused by consumption of such drugs. Allopathic drugs' toxicity and adverse reactions are also only too well known but articles on them are never alarmist, in tenor, as this one is.

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