Representative Image l Photo: Ratheesh PP/ Mathrubhumi
Thiruvananthapuram: The shift in lifestyle has been taking a toll on the health of tribal populations in Kerala, suggest trends. The state already has a burden of lifestyle diseases in its general population.
The death rate among the population below 40 years has increased in tandem with an increase in lifestyle diseases.
A panel headed by state food commission chairman KV Mohan Kumar visited the tribal hamlets to conduct a detailed study. They observed startling changes in the lifestyle of tribals which can be attributed to serious health issues in the population.
The commission found that the children lost interest in the traditional food varieties in these hamlets and switched themselves to junk foods. Diabetes and kidney-related illnesses have been reported, even among children.
The number of women getting pregnant has dropped considerably. Several women are not healthy enough to conceive, resulting in a decrease in the number of kids. The reduction in birth rate has been predominantly found in tribal groups such as ‘Kadar’ and ‘Cholanaykar’.
Similarly, alcohol consumption among the elders increased.
Fissures in nutrition distribution
Anomalies were found in the distribution of Amrutham Nutrimix offered for children between the ages of six months and three years. The commission has registered cases as certain public distribution outlets charge tribals for rice that has to be dispensed for free.
Mobile addiction among youth
The commission observed that many young men in these tribal villages have mobile phone addiction. They use mobile phones from the few places where they can access the network. Most of them have bought phones after going to work outside the villages, said the commission members.
Commission launches ‘Bhasura’
The commission formed an organisation named ‘Bhasura’ in each tribal unit, for resolving the issues of women in the various hamlets. A Bhasura cell has been established in the commission office for facilitating the operations of the organisation.