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NEW DELHI: Nearly one out of two adults in India reported poor quality of life with more women than men reporting the same, according to a study that gauged the standard of physical and psychological health, social relationships, and environment among those surveyed.

The study was released by French packaged foods and beverages company Danone India, along with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), and covered the quality of life among more than 2,700 adults in India.

The findings were based on four aspects of the respondents’ lives—physical health, psychological health, social relationships and environment. Subsequently, those surveyed were categorized into having a good or poor Quality of Life (QoL).

Researcher Ipsos conducted the survey between May-June 2021 in Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow, Chennai, Indore, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Patna. The study covered men and women in the age group of 30–50 years, across socio-economic class or SEC A and B.

Nearly one out of two Indian adults reported a poor quality of life (46.2%), the findings revealed.

Kolkata recorded the highest percentage of adults (65%) with poor Quality of Life score, followed by Chennai (49.8%), Delhi (48.5%), Patna (46.2%), Hyderabad (44.4%), Lucknow (40%) and Indore (39.2%). Mumbai had the highest percentage of adults (68%) recording a good quality of life, the survey revealed.

Unfortunately, physical health scores of women are also less than for men—the survey attributed this to a lower level of physical activity among women due to personal and environmental factors that create poor conditions for physical activity.

“The quality-of-life scores for women were found to be lower than that of men as 50.4% of women had a poor QoL. Percentage of people seem to be experiencing a poor QoL with growing age. Higher percentage of the older age group had poor quality of life than the younger age group," according to the findings.

The survey also highlighted the correlation between one's gender, age, socio-economic and work status that it said can influence one's quality of life.

For instance, socio-economic measures such as education and income, influence an individual’s QoL as they have been found to influence one’s life opportunities, which could justify the higher scores seen in SEC A compared to SEC B.

A high QoL was highest for those employed in jobs, followed by self-employed, housewives and then unemployed population.

The pandemic has also shifted how consumers perceive their own physical well-being. The spread of covid-19 and the subsequent focus on health and wellbeing has prompted people to step up and seek a more balanced lifestyle. As a result, near 40% of those surveyed agreed to have become more conscious about health and nutrition in the past year.

This is also pushing packaged consumer goods makers to respond to changing consumer needs.

While over 90% of respondents were aware of the role of physical health and nutrition, only 9% reported getting adequate protein in their diet. Adequate protein intake is especially critical for children and expecting mothers. Proteins are essential the building blocks of the body—and help with muscle gain.

“This is alarming," said Himanshu Bakshi, managing director, Danone India. “Through our collaboration with CII and nutrition experts we endeavour to sensitize Indian adults about the role of nutrition and protein in improving quality of life," he added. In association with CII, Danone India, on Friday also launched The Protein Week to raise awareness about the importance of protein.

Vinita Bali, chairperson, CII National Committee on Nutrition said that companies and health agencies are somewhere in the beginning stages of actually trying to understand nutrition in the context of health, and the role that products play.

“It's not just fortification—there are so many other things, the product formulations themselves—is that healthy or not healthy. Now there are organisations like ATNI, which every year releases the Access to Nutrition index. There are also increasingly more checks and balances coming into the system," she added.

When it comes to addressing challenges around adequate health and nutrition intake, India has a “long way to go", said Bali.

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