Urban lifestyle is characterised by a fast pace in which individuals are expected to be at the peak of their cognitive performance. This has happened due to the highly demanding professions in the modern world. While the older occupations provided monetary benefits for physically demanding work, contemporary jobs demand longer working hours in offices and reduced physical activities. These give more monetary incentives for working single-mindedly for a minimum of nine hours a day and six days a week.
Urban civilisations are also marked by increasing female participation in the economic workforce, which has brought a natural shift away from traditional methods of food preparation, and towards increased consumption of processed food. Even a moderate increase in economic prosperity of an individual seems to be associated with marked increases in the rate of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, etc, which lead to a diminished quality of life and life expectancy. As per World Health Organization estimates, NCDs cause 60 percent deaths globally, of which nearly 80 percent occur in low- and middle-income countries. These premature deaths impact the progress of society by adding an economic burden on the productive adult population, causing loss of income to families.
(This story appears in the 13 October, 2017 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)