A day ahead of the World Health Day, a study by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) released on Monday showed 42.5 per cent of employees in the private sector suffer from depression or general anxiety disorder.
The study, Preventive Healthcare: Impact on Corporate Sector, comes weeks after Germanwings pilot Andreas Lubitz, who was suffering from severe depression, allegedly crashed a Germanwings plane into the French Alps killing 150 people on March 24. After the Germanwings plane crash incident, Indian aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCI) has initiated comprehensive discussions with Directorate of Medical Services to formulate new norms for assessing the mental health of pilots, including regular check-ups.
The study revealed depression is the most prominent disease that was observed among the respondents.
"The rate of emotional problems such as anxiety and depression has increased by 45-50 per cent among corporate employees in the past eight years," said the study.
The report is based on the views of 1,250 corporate employees from 150 companies across 18 broad sectors, including media, telecom and knowledge process outsourcing.
The second disease which is troubling employees is obesity, with almost 23 per cent of the sample corporate employees suffering from it.
The report included Delhi national capital region, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Chennai, Ahmedabad, Hyderabd, Pune, Chandigarh, Dehradun, among others - with around 200 employees selected from each city.
Delhi ranks first in terms of employees suffering from depression or general anxiety disorder followed by Bengaluru, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Hyderabad and Pune.
High blood pressure and diabetes are the third and fourth largest disease with a share of nine per cent and eight per cent, respectively, among corporate employees.
"Corporate employees have to survive the stiff global competitive environment to save their jobs, adding pressure on their health, leading to silent diseases," said D S Rawat, secretary-general, Assocham, while releasing the survey.
On the other hand, government employees have less levels of psychological demand at work, Assocham said in a release.
As much as 38.5 per cent of corporate employees sleep less than six hours a day owing to high stress levels arising out of tough targets set for them by employers.
About 48 per cent of respondents said they feel fatigue on a regular basis owing to general anxiety and 27 per cent said they suffer from regular headache, the study noted.
In terms of the physical fitness, 57 per cent of the employees in private companies said they "do not exercise at all", while 23 per cent do physical workout devoting less than one hour a week and 12 per cent of the employees exercise for one to three hours a week.
"Lack of self confidence, unrealistic expectations and a nutrient-deficient diet trigger the condition. Biological, psychological and environmental factors play a role, too," said Dr B K Rao, chairman, Assocham Health Committee Council.
Around 55 per cent of the survey respondents fall under the age bracket of 20-29 years, followed by 30-39 years (26 per cent), 40-49 years (16 per cent), 50-59 years (two per cent) and 60-69 years (one per cent).