Prevalence of lifestyle diseases in India: Diabetes
Diabetes is one of the most common non-communicable, metabolic disorders. People with diabetes are at high risk to develop complications or conditions affecting their other organs such as kidney, eyes, heart, nervous system, fertility and brain. India has the highest prevalence of diabetes owing to factors such as genetic inheritance, obesity, higher living standards and other lifestyle changes. From 1971 to 2000, the prevalence of diabetes increased from 1.2% to 12.1%, a ten-fold increase. By the year 2000, India occupied the first position in world with 31.7 million people with Diabetes mellitus followed by China and USA. The year 2011 estimates reveal that, about 66.3 million people aged between 20 and 79 have diabetes. It is also estimated that about 77.2 million of the Indian population are pre-diabetic1. Geographically, high incidences of diabetes prevailin Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kolkata, Kashmir valley and Delhi. The south Indian population is at a higher risk for diabetes compared to north Indians.. Furthermore, urban populationsare at a higher risk of diabetes compared to rural population. However, this cannot be concluded easily, as the rural population has low or no facility for infrastructure, poor sanitation, food insecurity and communicable diseases.
Obesity is a major risk factor, followed by food choices and physical inactivity. In the year 2014, a survey on food choices preferred by men and women ranging from age 15 to 50 years was studied for links to risks for diabetes. It was demonstrated that men and women preferring lacto-vegetarian and ovo-vegetarian food are at 30% lesser risk compared to people consuming meat2. This definitely underlines the obesity/overweight population and addresses them to take appropriate dietary and clinical measures to reduce the risk of diabetes.
Diabetes is has reached to a potential epidemic proportion in India. Management of diabetes can be undertaken with healthy eating, regular physical activity and medications to lower blood glucose levels. Patient education, active lifestyle, controlling blood glucose and cholesterol levels is also extremely critical for managing diabetes early.
1. Kaveeshwar SA, and Cornwall J, (2014), ‘The current state of diabetes mellitus in India’, The Australasian Medical Journal, 7(1):45
2. Agrawal S, Millett CJ, Dhillon PK, Subramanian SV and Ebrahim S, (2014), ‘Type of vegetarian diet, obesity and diabetes in adult Indian population’, Nutrition Journal, 13:89