India’s Diabetes Epidemic Shifts to Poorer People in More Affluent Cities
The Indian Council of Medical Research – India Diabetes (ICMR-INDIAB) study is the largest nationally representative study of diabetes in India and includes data from 57000 people across 15 states. As part of the study, each person had their body weight, height, waist circumference and blood pressure measured. Glucose tolerance tests were used to diagnose diabetes and pre-diabetes.
The prevalence of diabetes across all 15 states was 7.3% and rates varied from 4.3% in Bihar to 13.6% in Chandigarh. Almost half of the people in the study did not know they had diabetes until they were tested.
On average, diabetes was twice as common in urban areas (11.2%) compared to rural areas (5.2%). Overall, diabetes was more common among people with higher socio-economic status, compared to people with low socio-economic status. However, in urban areas in seven states – most of which rank among the more economically advanced states – diabetes was higher among people from low socio-economic status.
For example, in urban areas of Chandigarh, the rate of diabetes was 26.9% for among people from a low socio-economic background, compared to 12.9% for people from high socio-economic backgrounds. In urban areas of Punjab, the rates were 16.1% and 11.9% respectively.
Additionally, the rates of diabetes in rural areas were much higher than those identified in previous studies. The authors note that since 70% of the population in India lives in rural areas, even small increases can translate into several million more people requiring chronic care in areas with poor access to health care.
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