Obesity and diabetes in Asian Indians
According to the recent Diabetes Atlas published by the international diabetes federation, globally there are 366 million people with diabetes. The number projected for India was 61.3 million people with diabetes. The recent Indian Council of Medical Research-India Diabetes (ICMR-INDIAB) study which is one the first of its kind to provide accurate and comprehensive state and national level data on diabetes prevalence in India, confirmed that there are 62.4 million people with diabetes in India. Moreover, the study showed that there are 77.2 million people with pre-diabetes, an earlier stage of diabetes, a large percentage of whom will convert to diabetes in the near future.
Obesity is a global health problem and India is facing a rising epidemic of obesity. The prevalence of generalized obesity (as defined by BMI ≥25 kg/m2) and abdominal obesity (as defined by waist circumference ≥90 cm in men and ≥80 cm in women) in the INDIAB study were 21% and 24.8% respectively. Combined obesity (generalized plus abdominal) was present in 28.6% of the population, which translates to 199 million people with obesity in India. The combined diabetes and obesity epidemic is referred to as diabesity. Diabesity in Indians are increased insulin resistance, stronger genetic factors and environmental factors particularly associated with epidemiological transition due to rapid urbanization, industrialization and demographic transition leading to increasing income levels and all of which resulted in altered lifestyle today. Appropriate nutrition measures will help in reducing the risk of not only diabetes and obesity, but also hypertension, dyslipidaemia and hyperinsulinaemia. Thus, effective preventive programmes need to be urgently implemented to tackle the diabesity epidemic threatening the country.