Monday, 17 November, 2008

Good health at sea ensures productivity

Seafarers’ good health and being ‘fit as a fiddle’ at sea have become critical factors for ship owners to ensure productivity. Taking a proactive stance the Seabird Health Foundation in association with Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement embarked on a pioneering role to create awareness among ship manning, ship management, ship owners and corporates by organising a seminar on November 8, 2008 at The Club, Andheri (W) Mumbai, on maintaining good health and fitness at sea.

The event drew a large number of personalities, company executives, representatives from manning and shipping companies as well as captains and marine engineers keen on finding a solution to several ‘cases’ of death and sicknesses due to health negligence that could deal a severe blow to the shipping trade as stress and fatigue threaten to reach alarming proportions. Presentations that were made brought into focus several revealing facts, at the same time various simple and very easy to follow remedies offered made a deep impact on the participants attending the seminar.

Conscious of the ever growing number of problems faced by seafarers, this awareness seminar is one of the recent initiatives of Seabird Health Foundation with Dr. Jacob Mathew the Director who has been spearheading it activities since its inception at the turn of the century and has been providing health care of international standards, with special emphasis on the needs of seafarers and the off shore industry.

Three luminaries, all well known consultants in India and abroad, gave in-depth presentations at the one-day seminar holding the participants spell bound. These were: Dr. Ashish Contractor M.D.; department head for Preventive Cardiology & Rehabilitation, Dr. Kalpana Rao, a life style specialist; and Ms Ankita Shah a leading consulting dietician.

Dr. Contractor informed that we are changing our dietary and physical habits, which is causing a lot of preventable diseases. “Males above 45 and females above 55 are at a greater risk. Smoking and tobacco cause the greatest risk. High blood pressure is a silent killer since often there are no symptoms. Ideally blood pressure should be below 120 / 80 mm Hg, Another common disease is hypercholesterolemia for which routine testing is necessary to ensure that one maintains the total cholesterol at less than 200 mg /dl; triglycerides less than 150 mg / dl; and LDL (bad cholesterol) should be below 100 mg / dl.” He also gave a deep insight into metabolic syndrome about body mass index and the risk factors involved.

He recommended regular exercise and said that when it comes to doing exercise like brisk walking one should ensure that they walk 10,000 steps every day. (Going to office by train or bus normally involves less than 3,000 steps. “Physical activity is more of bodily movement and exercise is done in a more structured way,” he said.

The dietician, Ms Shah gave a brief on what a good and balanced diet really is about. Her advice was not to consume too much of simple carbohydrates like sugar, etc., as these get easily absorbed into the system and created fat. “People at sea should find it difficult to monitor their diets after 10 to 12 hours of continuous work and hence should avoid eating too much red meat. We need to educate seafarers to consume more white meat. One must prefer eating fish curry as against eating fried fish. I would not say don’t have pork but eat more of white meat. These are some things if we don’t educate all seafarers there could be more repatriation.”

She further advised seafarers to eat food which is genetically good for us and not get influenced by Western culture. “The Chinese and the Filipinos are genetically conditioned to eat more pork and red meat than Indians,” she said.

Dr. Rao explained the commandments of a good life style. She recommended healthy eating habits, avoidance of any addictions, ways to cope with stress, etc. She gave a number of hints on how to cope with stress and maintain a good and healthy life style. She explained how simple exercises could be done at the workplace besides yoga and aerobics.

Dr Mathews mentioned that Seabird Health Foundation has been actively promoting health and fitness among seafarers. “It is our ardent desire to reduce mortality and morbidity among the seafaring community. In this connection this seminar is being conducted for the large sea faring community that we serve.”

He appealed to the managements of various shipping and offshore companies to help in this noble venture. He was happy with the excellent and overwhelming response to the seminar.

1 comment:

academic said...

Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!

Good Health