Progress as we know it, has an expensive price tag attached to it.
Look at the United States - the last hundred years has brought
tremendous wealth and opportunity to its people; but at a cost both to
the environment and health. Today there are 30% Americans who are
over-weight or grossly obese. More recently the rapid progress being
made by China is going to land the country in a similar situation.
India has seen a rise in the number of diabetics in recent years and
it is estimated that between 10 to 15% Indians are diabetics. India
has already been labeled as ''Diabetes Capital of the World''.
The World Health Organization has given a wake up call to China to
step up it fight against chronic diseases. In 2005 almost 35 million
people worldwide died due to chronic diseases and of these almost 7
million or one in five deaths were in China.
The single child policy in China has meant more than normal pampering
of the child by the parents resulting in many children being
Today almost 15% of urban youths in China are overweight. ''Lifestyles,
eating habits and the healthcare system have changed, and so have
diseases and death rates,'' China's deputy health minister Wang Longde
told a conference in Beijing, ''Chronic diseases don't only affect
people's health; they undermine the working strength of society,'' he
The public awareness on diabetes and the harmful affects of smoking is
very poor in among the Chinese people. The new wealth has brought a
new lifestyles and this means showing off the wealth and spending the
new earned cash on western fast foods, clothing, late-nights, pubs,
smoking and alcohol.
The new killer diseases such as lung cancer, stroke, heart disease,
diabetes and asthma, are all preventable. China also has problem with
tobacco and smoking. This habit is not new and tobacco consumption has
been prevalent for many centuries in different forms.
''Without action, an estimated 388 million people will die globally
from chronic diseases in the next 10 years. A very, very key point to
start with is tobacco control and over 80 million of those deaths will
be in China,'' said Catherine Le Gales-Camus, assistant
director-general of the WHO's non-communicable diseases and mental
True progress that can only be achieved; when we are in harmony with
nature. We as mankind have still to grasp this definition of progress.
This understanding requires tremendous maturity of the society. In
India we perhaps made this progress many thousands of years ago and an
essence of it is felt when we read some of our scriptures.