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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Busy executives really need a better Sun day

A normal day in the life of Sushil Kulkarni is just like that of any midlevel corporate executive. He travels to his office early every morning in an air-conditioned car and spends the entire day in the confines of his cabin. Executives like Kulkarni who barely get any sun exposure thanks to their 7 am to 7 pm work schedule are seeing unexpected fallout of their long hours spent in office. Call it a corporate lifestyle disease, but many are showing up with vitamin deficiencies, particularly that of the sunshine vitamin D or vitamin D3, which is essentially sourced from the ultraviolet rays of the sun and is necessary for strong bones.
“Considering that we are a tropical country with bountiful sunlight, we shouldn’t have vitamin D3 deficiencies. But we find that executives travel in their cars with tinted windows and mostly work indoors. Long office hours rarely allow them to exercise or get any exposure to the sun,’’ said Dr Shyam Pingle, vice president of the Indian Association of Occupational Health (IAOH), a non-governmental organization which works to make workplaces healthy and safe.

Quoting from a study published in the 2007 issue of the Indian Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Dr Pingle said that 75 male office executives in a suburban Mumbai office were tracked and their blood analyzed for vitamin levels. They found that 65% of the executives had vitamin B12 deficiency (less than 193 pg/ml) and 28% executives had vitamin D deficiency (less than 7.6 ng/ml). Doctors say changes in diet and lifestyle can do wonders, although supplements may be necessary for some. Executives could step out of their office during breaks instead of hanging around corridors.

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