Public Health

From Treatment to wellness:Is India really unhealthy

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Yesterday I was doing some research on the chyawanprash market in India and I found some rather interesting stats. The Chyawanprash market which is roughly Rs 400 crore saw a 25% growth in 2010. This is after a decade of single digit growth for the category.

Then in the evening I was reading how Pepsico was investing heavily in the health and wellness segment with its juices and brands like Quaker oats.

And at night I read an article which showed that Britannia was heavily investing in the ‘Nutrichoice’ brand to promote wellness.

So everyone has suddenly jumped on the wellness band wagon. From Dabur to Ranbaxy and from Britannia to Pepsi all want to make products to make you healthy.
But that brought me to another question, what has changed all of a sudden? Why concentrate on wellness now? Is Indian really in danger of being declared unhealthy?

One easy solution I found on the WHO site was that when corporations focus on disease they limit their market, but when they concentrate on wellness they have the entire human population. In India’s case almost 1 billion plus market make a very attractive proposition.

Terms like baked, low fat, no fat, cholesterol free, 3 omega, etc have become marketing clutch words. The focus is to get us healthy and wise. But do we really need these products?

My twelve years in the healthcare industry combined with the 7 years in medical school have taught me that the human body is more than capable of taking care of itself absorbing the right nutrients from the diet. The balaced diet chart that all of us read since kindergarten.

Stress levels among Indians is actually lower this year as compared to last year. Ina survey by accounting and consulting firm Grant Thornton, reveals that only 42% of Indian businesses felt an increase in stress levels as compared to 56% last year. The study was conducted amongst 6,000 businesses globally.

So probably taking these wellness supplements have helped Indians reduce their stress levels. To add to this many other initiatives like Yoga Camps and Art of living classes might have contributed to the lowering stress levels.

But the question still remains why the emphasis on wellness now, maybe the competition in normal products have forced companies to jump on to the wellness bandwagon.

The results will be known only after a while but for now enjoy your low fat snack…