From a global company standpoint, Glanbia has the benefit of seeing trends around the world. One of those trends is the increasing incidence of non-communicable lifestyle disorders brought about through poor nutrition and inactive lifestyles. In many of the 100 odd markets around the world where our products sell, this is certainly the case.
India is no exception, but with a few exceptions, or additional factors to consider which raises the need for action against the problems these lifestyle disorders bring an economy and country.
Firstly, the very large scale population India has results in very large ‘absolute’ numbers or incidence of diabetes and heart-related illnesses, brought about through poor diet and inactive or sedentary lifestyles
Secondly, these lifestyle disorders are not just limited to the increasingly aspirational middle income class growing in India. It also extends to the poorer parts or India, both urban and rural, and the resulting malnutrition issue which comes through a lack of access to ‘balanced’ food.
Clearly there are very different drivers which operate across the burgeoning middle income class and poorer communities across India. And as a result, different solutions required to address both.
To understand the magnitude of the problem facing India if it does not look to address these lifestyle orders, it is worth noting the demographic and population breakdown of India, and the implications for the future.
Today, around 65% of population in India is under the age of 35, and the primary the work force that is and will drive productivity and output of this country and the economy going forward. With the health challenges of both the burgeoning middle income class as well as poor, we have is a situation where the work force can become less competitive with those around. Whether it be the Chinese, the Russians, and the other countries in the world are more & more emerging.
With that the concern for India relates to sustaining its economic growth going forward. This will not just impact the youth, but all people in the country as the impact from compromised economic growth impacts employment, private investment, as well as government investment, including in areas such as the provision of healthcare, infrastructure, and other social requirements.
Therefore, reversing the lifestyle disorder trends is critical. This problem only compounds for future generations. After all, if we continue to become an unhealthy population and community, the likelihood is this will act as a catalyst for an even more unhealthy next generation as poor attitudes and behaviours (poor diet and inactive lifestyle) becomes cemented in future generations from an even earlier age. Therefore, the need to take action is now.
That is certainly the prospective we have, when we look at India from a Global company point of view. And we see from a company standpoint to play a role across education (both diet and active lifestyle), as well as relevant solutions (covering both the burgeoning middle income class and poorer communities) to help address these trends facing India.