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Over 11% Of India Has Diabetes: Why Is This Lancet Study Important?

New research shows that 11.4 percent of the Indian population has diabetes while 15.3 percent has prediabetes.

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At least 11.4 percent of the Indian population has diabetes, with southern states showing higher prevalence rates, finds a recent study conducted by Madras Diabetes Research Centre, that was funded by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

The large-scale study published on Thursday, 8 June, in the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology involved over 113,000 participants from 31 states across the country.

It is the first comprehensive study on non-communicable metabolic diseases, revealing concerning statistics relating to prediabetes, hypertension, generalised obesity, abdominal obesity, and dyslipidaemia.

FIT spoke to the study authors to know more about the findings.

Over 11% Of India Has Diabetes: Why Is This Lancet Study Important?

  1. 1. What Did the Study Find?

    From a total sample population of 113,043, it was found that 11.4 percent of the population has diabetes, indicating that 101 million people in India have the disease.  

    15.3 percent of the participants were found to have prediabetes. In fact, the states with lower rates of diabetes were found to have higher rates of prediabetes.

    Although this number is high, "this gives us a window of opportunity for prevention," Dr R M Anjana President of Madras Diabetes Research Foundation and first author of the study told FIT.

    Another area that sparked concern that was highlighted by the study were the rates of abdominal and generalised obesity.

    • The prevalence of generalised obesity was 28.6 percent

    • Abdominal obesity was found in a whopping 39.5 percent of the population.

    This is of great worry considering that belly fat can be a major risk factor for diabetes and heart disease, said the study authors.

    Expand
  2. 2. How Was It Done?

    Speaking to FIT, Dr V Mohan, Chairman of Madras Diabetes Research Foundation and senior author of the study, explained that they started off with the belief that "the whole country should be studied in a representative sample because health is a state subject with each state looking after its own health."

    Thus, a cross-sectional population-based survey with a representative sample of people aged 20 and older was taken from both rural and urban areas across 31 states, union territories, and Nation Capital territory of India.

    Out of 113,043 participants, 79,506 individuals were from rural areas while 33,537 belonged to urban areas.

    The sample participated in the study between October 2008 to December 2020 and the research was conducted in various phases across the years.

    "In each state the number of individuals studied is representative of that state in terms of geography, population-size, and socio-economic status."
    Dr RM Anjana

    Further, pre-diabetes and diabetes were diagnosed with the WHO criteria, hypertension using the Eighth Joint National Committee guidelines, obesity (generalised and abdominal) using the WHO Asia Pacific guidelines, and dyslipidaemia using the National Cholesterol Education Program—Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines.

    Expand
  3. 3. What Does This Mean for Indians?

    The statistics surrounding diabetes and pre-diabetes are of major concern, and a wake-up call for us, said the experts.

    However, Dr V Mohan pointed out that this is also a "golden window of opportunity." While the numbers can be alarming, this information can mean sufficient action can be taken with little to no medical intervention required, she says.

    "All those states which have very high pre-diabetes levels, if we put efforts towards prevention then we can perhaps prevent the increasing numbers in diabetes."
    Dr RM Anjana

    Dr Mohan also spoke about the correlation between type-2 diabetes and obesity.

    With increase in affluence, individuals begin to indulge in food habits that may be unhealthy, or opt for transportation means such as two-wheelers or four-wheelers instead of cycles or walking, which reduce physical activity.

    All these factors can lead to increasing obesity and by extension increases the chances of developing diabetes.

    Expand
  4. 4. How Can We Stop The Growing Rates Of NCDs?

    "There has to be a movement towards healthy living," said Dr Anjana.

    There is often a lack of awareness regarding the health implications of several food and activities.

    Changes in diet and lifestyle can be the "key" to solving this crisis. Individuals should aim to modify their diet to accommodate leafy green vegetables, cut down on carbohydrates, and increase the intake of protein.

    Such measures will help keep individuals healthy and keep them away from the complications that can come with overlooking diseases such as diabetes.

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

What Did the Study Find?

From a total sample population of 113,043, it was found that 11.4 percent of the population has diabetes, indicating that 101 million people in India have the disease.  

15.3 percent of the participants were found to have prediabetes. In fact, the states with lower rates of diabetes were found to have higher rates of prediabetes.

Although this number is high, "this gives us a window of opportunity for prevention," Dr R M Anjana President of Madras Diabetes Research Foundation and first author of the study told FIT.

Another area that sparked concern that was highlighted by the study were the rates of abdominal and generalised obesity.

  • The prevalence of generalised obesity was 28.6 percent

  • Abdominal obesity was found in a whopping 39.5 percent of the population.

This is of great worry considering that belly fat can be a major risk factor for diabetes and heart disease, said the study authors.

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

How Was It Done?

Speaking to FIT, Dr V Mohan, Chairman of Madras Diabetes Research Foundation and senior author of the study, explained that they started off with the belief that "the whole country should be studied in a representative sample because health is a state subject with each state looking after its own health."

Thus, a cross-sectional population-based survey with a representative sample of people aged 20 and older was taken from both rural and urban areas across 31 states, union territories, and Nation Capital territory of India.

Out of 113,043 participants, 79,506 individuals were from rural areas while 33,537 belonged to urban areas.

The sample participated in the study between October 2008 to December 2020 and the research was conducted in various phases across the years.

"In each state the number of individuals studied is representative of that state in terms of geography, population-size, and socio-economic status."
Dr RM Anjana

Further, pre-diabetes and diabetes were diagnosed with the WHO criteria, hypertension using the Eighth Joint National Committee guidelines, obesity (generalised and abdominal) using the WHO Asia Pacific guidelines, and dyslipidaemia using the National Cholesterol Education Program—Adult Treatment Panel III guidelines.

0

What Does This Mean for Indians?

The statistics surrounding diabetes and pre-diabetes are of major concern, and a wake-up call for us, said the experts.

However, Dr V Mohan pointed out that this is also a "golden window of opportunity." While the numbers can be alarming, this information can mean sufficient action can be taken with little to no medical intervention required, she says.

"All those states which have very high pre-diabetes levels, if we put efforts towards prevention then we can perhaps prevent the increasing numbers in diabetes."
Dr RM Anjana

Dr Mohan also spoke about the correlation between type-2 diabetes and obesity.

With increase in affluence, individuals begin to indulge in food habits that may be unhealthy, or opt for transportation means such as two-wheelers or four-wheelers instead of cycles or walking, which reduce physical activity.

All these factors can lead to increasing obesity and by extension increases the chances of developing diabetes.

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

How Can We Stop The Growing Rates Of NCDs?

"There has to be a movement towards healthy living," said Dr Anjana.

There is often a lack of awareness regarding the health implications of several food and activities.

Changes in diet and lifestyle can be the "key" to solving this crisis. Individuals should aim to modify their diet to accommodate leafy green vegetables, cut down on carbohydrates, and increase the intake of protein.

Such measures will help keep individuals healthy and keep them away from the complications that can come with overlooking diseases such as diabetes.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Diabetes   metabolic disease 

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