Change is speeding up around the globe, but oft times it seems as if it’s affecting the wrong things.Take India. Its rising economic power, driven by outsourcing, is resulting in improved living standards for many, while producing many Western health woes.
Call centers and other outsourced businesses such as software writing, medical transcription and back-office work employ more than 1.6 million young men and women in India, mostly in their 20s and 30s, who make much more than their contemporaries in most other professions.
They are, however, facing sleep disorders, heart disease, depression and family discord, according to doctors and several industry surveys…
Heart disease, strokes and diabetes cost India an estimated $9 billion in lost productivity in 2005. But the losses could grow to a staggering $200 billion over the next 10 years if corrective action is not taken quickly, said a study by New Delhi-based Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations.
The problems aren’t limited to outsourcing, although that industry will be hardest hit if the projections hold true.
A recent survey by Dataquest magazine and technology consulting company IDC showed sleep disorders topped health complaints among outsourcing industry workers. About 32 percent of respondents complained of sleep disorders; 25 percent had digestive troubles; and 20 percent reported eyesight problems, said the survey, which covered 1,749 employees at 19 outsourcing companies.
One out of 10 persons aged 35 or older are prone to heart attacks.
Heart disease is projected to account for 35 percent of deaths among India’s working age population between 2000 and 2030, Kasliwal said, citing a World Health Organization study. That number is about 12 percent for the United States, 22 percent for China and 25 percent for Russia.
Is this what every emerging country should expect? Are these illnesses the natural price paid for climbing on the economic express?
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