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A new Mantra for better adult health

Two youngsters have combined their energies and resources to launch an organisation to care for the health of the elderly.

Free exercises are a part of ‘Arogya Mantra,’ established on November 15 by Kritika Satija, a qualified Physiotherapist and Jignal Bhagvandas, a third year medical student at the University of Auckland.

“It is disheartening to note that an increasing number of people of Indian origin suffer from cardiovascular diseases. Adults in our community work long hours, eat poor food and do not exercise. With the rising population, the related problems would also rise and hence there is a need for planned action,” Ms Satija said.

Quoting statistics, Ms Bhagvandas said that according to current figures, Asians constitute 9.2% of the New Zealand population.

“In 2010, there were 40,190 Indians in the Auckland District Health Board area. The number is expected to rise to 65,155 in the next few years. While there are cricket clubs and hockey clubs, none of them targets specifically our adults. Indian women are also forgotten,” she said.

Some barriers

Ms Satija said that it was common for people of Indian origin to shy away from physical exercise, citing culture as a restraining factor.

“It is only when people become afflicted with diseases that they really want to learn and make a change. But even then they are not really good in taking medications. I was shocked to see that the two leading causes of potentially avoidable mortality in Indians are cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes,” she said.

Ms Bhagvandas said that language, a lack of knowledge of the health system, cultural differences in assessment and treatment and non-availability of public transport are among the problems encountered by South Asians.

She said that primary goals of ‘Arogya Mantra’ are to try and make healthy living and exercising a part of the daily lives of people.

“We want to educate people on our health system and other health-related matters. It is vital that preventive behaviours and key health issues are addressed in the community. We will invite medical professionals to help in our efforts,” she said.

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