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Gandhi and Health @ 150
Indian Council of Medical Research released a special edition of its journal
on Mahatma Gandhi's health as the Father of the Nation turns 150 years
Gandhi and Health @ 150

In an interesting initiative, the Indian Council of medical Research (ICMR) has developed a collector's edition of Indian Journal of Medical Research (IJMR) focusing on the health of Mahatma Gandhi and Gandhian principles of health.

The special edition titled, 'Gandhi & Health @150' was launched in Dharamshala by His Holiness the Dalai Lama on 20th March 2019 to kick off a two-day symposium (25-26 March 2019) in New Delhi, organised by ICMR and the National Gandhi Museum. 2019 is being celebrated at the 150th anniversary of the Father of the Nation.

This special edition of IJMR details the medical legacy of Gandhi, his health profile and his experiments on health, based on articles published and health records that are available. It also highlights ICMR's contributions in areas that are relevant to Gandhian principles, such as importance of hygiene and sanitation (relevant to diseases like cholera, malaria, TB and leprosy), living a disciplined life and the role of physical fitness with meditation (relevant to lifestyle diseases, mental health and the youth) and balanced diet (relevant to nutrition). This edition also illustrates how ICMR has focused its research on areas that Gandhi was passionate about - environment, lifestyle diseases and social behaviour.

Releasing the edition in Dharamshala, His Holiness the Dalai Lama said, “Mahatma Gandhi was a man with extraordinary qualities. His motivation to solve the problems of society and steer the freedom movement through the path of truth and non-violence is inspired by his physical and emotional well being. Gandhi Ji's life shows us that by dedicating one's life to others makes a person emotionally and physically strong. Honouring Gandhi ji's philosophy on health will not only inform the present society on improving the well-being of people but will also help them imbibe a lifestyle that is disciplined and rewarding.”

Prof (Dr.) Balram Bhargava, Secretary, Department of Health Research and Director General, ICMR said, “The Indian Council of Medical Research was set up in 1911. In a journey, that has spanned more than a century, this institution has made immense contribution towards various disease control programmes and has tried to follow the path shown by the Mahatma Gandhi, by touching and impacting the lives of millions of Indians. Mahatma Gandhi had spearheaded many revolutions in our country and ICMR has embodied his values and principles in its health research to improve the health and well-being of the country. On the 150th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation, ICMR has brought out this edition as a mark of a tribute to the man who sacrificed his life for the service of the poor and downtrodden.”

Interesting facts of Mahatma Gandhi's Health
  • Gandhi used to walk around 18 km every day for nearly 40 years. During his campaign from 1913 to 1948, he walked around 79,000 km, which is equivalent to walking around the Earth twice.
  • In the book 'Key to Health' Gandhi said “experience has taught me that to be perfect fit, vegetarian diet must include milk and milk-products such as curd, butter, ghee, etc.”
  • Gandhi suffered from high blood pressure and as per the health file of Gandhi (1924-47) his blood pressure readings were as high as 194/130 and 220/110 (on 26.10.1937 and 19.02.1940).
  • Based on the health reports of Gandhi his arterial elasticity was diminished due to arterial constriction, but the condition of his myocardium was stated to be good (Dated 27 and 28 October 1937)
  • Gandhi's eye test indicated fundus oculi (from 26 February 1939) except for changes in the lenses, his eyes were otherwise healthy.
  • Gandhi's biochemical investigation done on 19 January 1936, 9 December 1937 and 5 April 1938 indicated his blood sugar level was at 41, 71.4 and 0.115% (115) which were below the normal level (80-120).
  • Gandhi was a firm believer in the principle that a healthy mind keeps the body healthy and he stressed on the importance of a balanced diet, natural cure and physical fitness.
  • Gandhi strictly preached against the intake of tea and coffee along with drugs, tobacco and alcohol.
Read 'Gandhi and Health @ 150' eBook online