Thinking about health of India, one is carried away by wild imaginations ranging from SRI SRI RAVISHANKAR's AOL, to Baba Ramdev, exercise classes on TV and clubs abound with exercises and nutritional amusements. So i thought may be we should establish some order.
1. Sanitation is the primary requirement. This is the first thing that all our children must learn, grasp and practice. It is worth watching the fun how adults wash their hands. NO way it is the correct technique. One may use ash, soda or soap. Washing has been to at least twice, under flowing water/poured water. Human excreta must be disposed in most sanitary fashion.
2. Nutrition. Next in line is the nutrition. The body demands what it needs. So listen to the body demands. Unless it is religious issue, parent shall leave it free to children to choose the type of food, veg or non-veg up to 20 years. Ensure a pill of multivitamin, once a week at least, if your child is not taking many fruit. Restriction on food of any kind is useless. Be it oil, sugar or anything. The body demands, the mind asks- only thing is it should be available.
3. Exercise. Regular exercise is not required for kids. They exercise enough. Once kid start going to colleges, they turn away from exercise due to studies. Here starts the problem of back, knee, poor digestion, lungs accumulating dust and heart coronaries getting blocked. Lack of exercise starts taking its toll by 15 years from then. If a person can just manage to walk 5 km every day- be it rain, mist or sun - of course protected, he will be the healthiest.
4. Yoga and meditation. I consider yoga and meditation as lazy persons efforts. It snatches away your exercise time. It it good once you have good health and doing regular exercise, may be then one can add yoga and meditation to add little variation. Yoga and meditation is good in preserving health by sothing mind and soul and bringing balance between mind , body and soul.
5. Alcohol, tobacco etc is no good. The harm it does is worst. They are slow poisons and must be kept at bay.
6. Preserve good health. That is the mantra for 2011.
I got some quick reactions from my patients asking what about mothers and children. Well, I agree that is very important for preservation of good health. Actually good health starts with conception. So while nutrition, sanitation and exercise will make a women ready for conception, it is equally important to have concerns for TWO THINGS : (a) Well cared confinement i.e. pregnancy, delivery and after delivery care of the mother, and (b) Immunization of mother and new born and later on the child.
Please dont miss on these two aspects when the women is planning to have a healthy child grow in to a healthy human being.