Indians add more years to their lives

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"While the total burden from air pollution in India declined between 1990 and 2016, this was largely driven by efforts to reduce the use of solid fuels in households".

The contribution of injuries to the total disease burden has increased in most states since 1990.

In 1990, of the total disease burden in India, 61% was due to communicable, maternal, neonatal, and nutritional diseases. The Lancet report said that underdeveloped states, including Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana, have a low epidemiological transition level (ETL).

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Though life expectancy at birth has improved at the national level, inequalities between states continue - ranging from 66.8 years in Uttar Pradesh to 78.7 years in Kerala for females, and 63.6 years in Assam to 73.8 years in Kerala for males in 2016.

Unveiling the study in Gurugram, Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu said the findings show that the overall disease burden per person in some states of India was nearly twice as much as in some other states, and the burden rate due to the leading diseases ranges from five to ten times between the states.

Releasing the India State-level Disease Burden report and technical papers in New Delhi on Tuesday, Mr Naidu said, high disease burden caused by malnutrition in India must be tackled soon to enable the next generation of Indians to reach their full potential in their personal development as well as the nation's development. But, in the states that recorded the highest number of such mortalities, such as Assam and Uttar Pradesh, the rates were four times that of the states with the lowest incidence, such as the relatively more prosperous Kerala.

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"Many Indian states are bigger than most countries in the world".

Explaining such variations, a researcher at Public Health Foundation of India said that the people in these states must have comorbidities, which is additional diseases or disorders related to the main disease. The per person disease burden measured as DALYs rate dropped by 36% from 1990 to 2016 in India, after adjusting for the changes in the population age structure during this period. "The range of disease burden or DALY rate varied three-fold for road injuries and six-fold for self-harm among the states of India in 2016", said the report. The disease burden due to unsafe water and sanitation has also reduced significantly in India, but this burden is still 40 times higher per person in India than in China. But there was an nearly two-fold difference in this disease burden rate between the states in 2016, with Assam, Uttar Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh having the highest rates, and Kerala and Goa the lowest rates. He suggested that generation of such comprehensive estimates for each district.

Dr. K. Srinath Reddy, President of PHFI, pointed out that the contribution of non-communicable diseases to health loss had doubled in the past two decades.

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Even though Delhi has now been facing a deteriorating quality of air due to pollution, it faces a marginally lower health risks, when compared to states like Bihar.

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