World Health Day: India among top 3 countries with high diabetic population

Diabetes cases up to 422 million worldwide; India ranks among top 3 countries with diabetic population.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune | Updated: April 7, 2016 7:42 am
Diabetes Puzzle According to the Lancet study, China, India and USA are among the top three countries with a high number of diabetic population. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

After tightening laws on tobacco and alcohol, experts now want a high tax on sugary drinks as they cause a sugar high that leads to insulin resistance. Ahead of World Health Day (April 7), the Lancet study (to be published online late tonight) said there is a fourfold rise in the number of diabetics – from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014 and half of them live in India, China, USA, Brazil and Indonesia.

According to the Lancet study, China, India and USA are among the top three countries with a high number of diabetic population. While the numbers climbed from 20.4 million in China in 1980 to 102.9 million in 2014, the rise has been equally dramatic in India from 11.9 million in 1980 to 64.5 million in India. Prevalence of diabetes has more than doubled for men in India and China (3.7 per cent to 9.1 per cent in India and 3.5 per cent to 9.9 per cent in China). It has also increased by 50 per cent among women in China (5.0 per cent to 7.6 per cent) and 80 per cent among women in India (4.6 per cent to 8.3 per cent).

Dietary patterns must change, with more fibre and protein and less of sugar and starches in the diet. A high tax on sugary drinks is needed, as they cause a sugar high that leads to insulin resistance, Dr K Srinath Reddy, President of Public Health Foundation of India told The Indian Express.

The government launched an adult screening programme for diabetes and hypertension in some districts, but it has had an inadequate response. Unless early detection and effective treatment become a part of routinely available primary health services, we will fail in protecting persons with diabetes from having serious complications. Urban planning must support safe and pleasurable physical activity, especially active commuting. Public education on the prevention and appropriate treatment of diabetes is essential, as self-care is an important element of clinical management, Reddy said.

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The findings provide estimates of worldwide diabetes trends and the larger rise in diabetes prevalence in low-income and middle-income countries than in high-income countries, and the mostly flat trends in Europe (especially in northwestern Europe),is caused by several factors. First, adiposity, which is an important risk factor for diabetes, has increased substantially more, and is now higher, in many low-income and middle-income countries than in continental Europe and high-income Asia Pacific countries, especially in women.

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Prof. Majid Ezzati, senior author from Imperial College London, said that the rates of diabetes are rising quickly in China, India and other low- and middle-income countries. As a result of rise in prevalence and population growth and ageing, the number of people with diabetes in India has risen from 11.9 million in 1980 to 64.5 million in 2014. The study includes data from 751 studies totalling 4.4 million adults in different world regions. No country saw a significant decrease in diabetes prevalence. Obesity is the important risk factor for type-2 diabetes and attempts to control rising rates have not proved successful.

Diabetes will be the world’s seventh largest killer by 2030 unless intense and focused efforts are made by governments, communities and individuals,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, regional director, WHO South-East Asia, adding that the theme for the World Health Day was to focus on diabetes and to scale up efforts to prevent the disease.

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