New Delhi, June 9
India is housing nearly double the number of diabetics than previously estimated, according to new findings of a 12 year study on the prevalence of metabolic non communicable diseases (NCDs) including diabetes in the country.
The Indian Council of Medical Research–India Diabetes (ICMR-INDIAB) study, a cross-sectional population-based survey, assessed a representative sample of individuals aged 20 years and older drawn from urban and rural areas of 31 states and UTs found the diabetes prevalence in the population at 11.4 pc which comes to 101 million.
This is 1.68 times higher than the previously estimated 60 million diabetics in India and a previously known 7.84 pc national prevalence rate of diabetes.
The new study published in The Lancet puts the prevalence of pre diabetes in India at 15.3 pc of the population which is 136 million; hypertension at 35.5 pc; general obesity at 39.5 pc and dyslipidemia (lipid imbalance which can cause heart diseases) at 81.2 pc. The data show one in every three Indians have hypertension and 2 in 5 are obese.
Speaking to The Tribune today, ICMR chief Rajiv Bahl said, “The message to the people is jumping into treatment and more treatment for diabetes will not help. Pre diabetes is completely reversible, and 60 pc diabetes is reversible by healthy diets and physical activity. We must all work towards reducing the risks of diabetes through healthy diet, physical activity and if it is uncontrolled then treatment.”
Bahl said the purpose of the study was to find out what is the prevalence and burden of diabetes in the context of changes in society with increased prosperity, more access to food, and convenient modes of transport.
“We know diabetes and prediabetes are pretty prevalent in India. The challenge is prevention because we all know higher NCD burden will result in higher risk of cardiovascular diseases and hypertension. So wellness, lifestyle changes with healthy eating and more physical activity is the way forward,” Bahl said.
A total of 113 043 individuals (79 506 from rural areas and 33 537 from urban areas) participated in the ICMR study between October 18, 2008 and December 17, 2020.
The highest prevalence of diabetes in India is in Goa, prediabetes in Sikkim and hypertension in Punjab.
The last national survey of ICMR to estimate the burden of NCDs had also shownPunjab as the leader in obesity, hypertension and dyslipidemia, all risk factors for major non communicable diseases.
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