I in 4 Indian Diabetics not obese
New Delhi: It is not just the obese who develop diabetes. New research suggests that some Indian patients suffering from the disease are non-obese, having a body mass index (BMI) of less than 25 kg/m2.
They have high fat in the abdominal region, also referred to as central obesity besides fat in the liver and pancreas. According to Dr Anoop Misra, chairman of Fortis C-Doc, nearly one out of every four diabetics in India is non-obese.”Higher waist circumference, abdominal fat and depositions in the neck and chin area are some of the clinical symptoms to assess the risk factor. Such patients could be at higher risk for diabetes-related complications, for example, heart attack, because of high fat in the liver,” he said.
The implications of this finding, which has been published in the recent issue of “PLOS One” medical journal, are significant, said Dr Misra, adding that it could pave the way for a differential treatment module for non-obese patients.
Another study, published in “The Lancet”, has also found that apart from physical attributes, the genetic predisposition also adds to the risk of developing diabetes in Indians. “If we can find out the factors that influence these genes, the disease can be prevented,” said Dr Sujeet Jha, one of the authors of the study funded by the European Union.
Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO regional director for South-East Asia, said taking small steps like eating right, regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight can cut the risk of diabetes or delay its onset.
“The number of people with diabetes is projected to increase alarmingly from 457 million in 2014 to 592 million by 2035 if we do not act now to arrest this trend,” she said.
Public health experts have warned about serious financial implications for diabetes if India does not act fast to tackle the spread of the disease. At 65 million, India has the second highest number of diabetics in the world after China. Previously considered a disease of the affluent class, diabetes has spread fast among the rural poor to thanks to unhealthy diet and reduced physical activity.
Public Health Foundation of India, in a recent study, concluded non-communicable diseases, chiefly diabetes or heart disease, affect the person in the productive years. “They cause reduced productivity and early retirement. Also, they put immense pressure on public health expenditure as in most cases the treatment costs are higher compared to communicable diseases,” said a senior doctor at PHFI.
He said increasing burden of non-communicable diseases could rob India of the “demographic dividend” it is projected to reap on account of a predominantly young population. A report published by IRIS Knowledge Foundation in collaboration with UN-HABITAT states that by 2020, India is set to become the world’s youngest country with 64% of its population in the working age-group.
Source: The Times of India,14.11.15-