Thiruvananthapuram: A recent funded survey indicates that the ageing population in Kerala which has the best literacy rate in country eats three meals a day and most are non-vegetarians.
Almost 90 percent of both men and women over 60 years in Kerala eat three meals a day, according to 'Kerala Ageing Survey', funded by the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute. It indicates some interesting problem with the health of the elderly population.
Headed by S. Irudayarajan of the Centre for Development Studies here, the team that interviewed 2,722 women and 2,291 men above 60 years found that walking problems beset 46.30 of the former and 38.20 percent of the latter.
When it came to aches, the elderly suffer the most from joint pains while women - over 51 percent - are prone to weak joints.
Close to 39 percent men and 36 percent women go in for routine medical check-ups and 50 percent of the aged regularly take medication.
The fear of falling haunted the elderly population though the study reveals that men were more stable than their female counterparts.
While only 21 percent men in the three age groups have fallen, close to 30 percent of the women have involuntarily dropped to the ground.
Close to one percent of the women in the survey use cigarettes or beedis and close to two percent of them were tipplers. Around 18 percent of old men drink and close to 25 percent smoke.
However, the fairer sex beat its male counterparts in chewing betel leaf, with close to 20 percent addicted to the habit compared to 13 percent men.
Sabu Aliyar, a member of the study team, said these were only preliminary reports. In a month's time, the complete results would be published, he added.
Kerala has traditionally led from the front when it came to the total aged population (above 60 years) in the country. It rose from a mere 5.9 percent of the total population in 1961 to more than 15 percent in 2001.