Nearly 85 per cent of the employees in the private sector suffer from lifestyle-related chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and infertility apart from arthritis, back pain, knee problems and sleep disorders.

This is mainly owing to demanding schedules, high stress levels and performance-linked perquisites in this sector, according to a recent survey by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

The survey, ‘Government versus private employee health scenario’, was conducted in 12 major cities across the country to mark World Health Day on April 7.

Respondents

A total of 200 employees from the private and government sectors were surveyed from each of the cities. While 55 per cent of the respondents were aged between 20 and 29, 26 per cent were aged between 30 and 39, 16 per cent were aged between 40 and 49, 2 per cent were aged between 50 and 59 and 1 per cent was aged above 60.

According to the findings, less than 8 per cent of those surveyed in the government sector were found to be suffering from lifestyle-related chronic diseases.

In fact, the survey revealed some positive features pertaining to government employees such as reasonably good health and family stability. There are many healthcare schemes for government employees in addition to pension, reflecting better health standards in government jobs, the survey said.

High stress levels

Pointing out that the increasing number of marital disputes was also contributing to high stress levels, the survey said that this, along with demanding schedules, were leading to sleep disorders among private sector employees. Nearly 45 per cent of them were found to be sleeping for less than six hours.

Sharan S. Patil, chairperson and chief orthopaedic of Sparsh Hospital, says high stress levels are common in private sector employees who migrate from smaller cities to metros. “Apart from work pressure, such persons also have to cope with change in lifestyle and eating habits. We have observed that some people find it really difficult to cope with the stress in the first year of their job after which they get used to it. But, by then they would have become victims of lifestyle-related diseases,” Dr. Patil says.

“Obesity, back pain, arthritis and knee problems are universal and are found in both government and private employees because of their sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise,” he says.

C.N. Manjunath, director of Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, says job security, fixed working hours and a feeling of contentment are the factors that keep most government employees in reasonably good health.

Demanding schedules, sedentary lifestyle, lack of physical activity as well as irregular eating habits are the main factors that affects the health of private sector employees.

Both doctors advise regular workouts, a balanced diet and adequate rest.