Why Are So Many Young Indians Suffering From Type-2 Diabetes?

In India, one in four people under the age of 25 suffer from Type-2 Diabetes.

2 min read

Video Editor: Prashant Chauhan

Did you know that in India, one in four people under the age of 25 suffer from Type-2 Diabetes?

A person has Type-2 Diabetes if their sugar levels are higher than normal.

What was once seen as a disease that mostly impacted adults, diabetes is something that even teenagers are diagnosed with now.

Over the last few years, there has been a 20 percent increase in people in the age group of 14-25 years suffering from Type-2 Diabetes.

What's concerning is that the average age of the Indian population diagnosed with diabetes is almost 10 years younger than the Western population. Why so? FIT asked an expert.


Lifestyle Choices To Blame For Diabetes

There are a few overarching reasons for Type-2 Diabetes. Dr Chhavi Agarwal, Associate Consultant of Endocrinology at the Fortis Escorts Hospital, says that the reasons might include:

  • Lack of physical activity and a sedentary lifestyle

  • Consumption of high-calorie packed food items

  • No diet hygiene or proper meal timings

  • Lack of sleep and lack of work-life balance

  • Working at a sitting job where you don't move around much


Genetics Working Against Us

Dr Agarwal also adds that the Indian population is anyway genetically pre-disposed to diabetes. She explains,

"We have a thrifty gene and have more visceral fat which pre-disposes us to insulin resistance. We also have a higher waist-hip ratio compared to the Western population. All this leads to more incidents of diabetes in the Indian population."

Not just that, doctors also say that almost 10 years after the onset of diabetes, patients might start developing other complications such as:

  • Heart diseases

  • Kidney conditions

  • Eye problems

Age, again, is not a deterrent here.


What You Can Do 

While we can’t do much about the genetic pre-deposition working against us, Dr Agarwal does suggest a few other things that we can do.

  • It's a good idea to start screening yourself for diabetes at least once every year.

  • Try to inculcate at least 40-45 minutes of physical activity in your daily lifestyle.

  • Be mindful of your total calorie intake each day.

But it is also important to acknowledge and be aware that anyone can suffer from diabetes and at any age.

(This was first published on 20 February. It has been republished from The Quint's archives over a study published in the Lancet which shows that 11.4 percent of the Indian population has 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:  Indians   Health   Type 2 diabetes 

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