Junk food, low physical activity, low intake of fruits and vegetables in the diet are leading risk factors for diabetes in India, according to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM) report. The report titled “Diabetes in India” was produced by ASSOCHAM and the Delhi-based think tank, Thought Arbitrage Research Institute (TARI).
Other risk factors are stress, pollution, and high consumption of alcohol and carbonated / sugary drinks.
“This year marks the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin. It is, however, unfortunate that Diabetes has been underrated as a global public health issue. We as a nation need to take urgent important steps to address this challenge. It is a fact that Diabetes is one of the top three NCDs (non-communicable diseases) in India and with each year the burden of this disease is rising,” said Anil Rajput, Chairperson of ASSOCHAM CSR Council.
The disease incidence increases significantly in individuals above 35 years of age and affects men more than women.
“Diabetes prevention must be part of a larger national mission. Students should be taught ‘Health Science’ as a subject in schools which can help in preventing this disease and creating awareness about healthy lifestyles among our future generations. We must also change the age limit for the cyclical three-year testing protocol for sugar from 30 years presently to 25 years of age,” said President of Research Society for Study of Diabetes in India (RSSDI), Dr Banshi Saboo.
The report also finds that about 16.8 per cent of the male adult population (>15 years) and 14.6 per cent of the female adult population (> 15 years) are estimated to be diabetic. The prevalence of diabetes is highest in southern states including Puducherry, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and lowest in UP and Rajasthan.
About 7 per cent of the respondents who were suffering from diabetes stated that they were not seeking any treatment at all. However, more than 56 per cent of the respondents stated that they are seeking treatment for more than one year, a fact testifying to the indisputable and inevitable morbidity of this disease.
One in 12 adults or more than 74 million people living in India are diabetes patients, according to a new report from the International Diabetes Federation. The figure is the second-highest in the world after China. Another 40 million adults in India have impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), placing them at high risk of developing Type-2 diabetes, while more than half (53.1 per cent) of people living with diabetes in India are undiagnosed.