Lifestyle and food preferences, along with genetic factors, have long been known to have an impact on diabetes risk. A new study, published in the Journal of Public Health, has found that consuming food like sugar and honey increases the risk of diabetes, while eating protein-rich food such as dairy products could reduce this risk.
As reported by Down to Earth, the study is based on data from the National Family Health Survey, 2011 census, data on per capita crop production and consumption figures of different food groups — to examine food availability and preferences in various states and compare them to diabetes incidences in these regions.
Some findings of the study were:
- Diabetes was more common in states like West Bengal and Kerala — where more non-vegetarian diet is consumed, because a vegetarian diet helps manage diabetes and makes body sensitive to insulin hormone.
- There was also a greater incidence of diabetes where people consumed more sugar and honey, though this wasn’t applicable to Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Harayana.
- Protein-rich food like pulses and nuts was linked to a lowered risk of diabetes. This could also be seen in the states where people ate more dairy.
- The incidence was also high in urban districts than rural ones. This could be linked to lifestyle-related differences like physical activity and food choices.
- Diabetes was also found to be high among men than in women, as also shown in earlier studies.
- 6.9 per cent of adults in India aged 15-49 years have diabetes. Diabetes is highly prevalent in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and the least in Rajasthan.
- The prevalence of disease was found to be more in districts which are close to coastal areas.
Preeti Dhillon, author of the study and assistant professor at International Institute for Population Sciences, said,
Our study has identified hotspot districts having high prevalence of diabetes and recommended them to be targeted in public health programmes.
Down to Earth quoted Vice-President of the Diabetes Foundation of India, Anoop Misra, as calling diabetes a ‘multifactorial disease’ and that genetics, physical activity, alcohol consumption and other lifestyle factors must be considered before drawing any conclusions.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), India had 69 million diabetic individuals in 2015, and the estimate is expected to rise to 98 million by 2030.