Lifetime risk of diabetes in metros alarming


Disturbing new research published in Diabetologia (journal of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes) shows that more than half of men (55%) and some two-thirds (65%) of women aged 20 years in India will likely develop diabetes, with most of those cases (around 95%) likely to be type 2 diabetes.

  • India already has a significant health burden caused by diabetes and estimates suggest that 77 million adults have diabetes and this is expected to almost double to 134 million by 2045.
  • The authors noted that their new estimates from India are much closer to estimates of lifetime risk of 20-year-olds among the black and Hispanic populations in the U.S. (above 50%), groups considered at a higher risk than the general population.


Various factors

  • The researchers noted that — urbanisation, decreasing diet quality and decreased levels of physical activity — are all contributing to this hidden epidemic.
  • Women generally had a higher lifetime risk across the lifespan. Remaining lifetime risk of developing diabetes declined with age. 
  • They estimated that for those currently aged 60 years and free of diabetes, around 38% of women and 28% of men would develop diabetes. 
  • Obesity had a substantial impact on these projections. The risk was highest among obese metropolitan Indians — 86% among 20-year-old women and 87% among men.
  • Despite these very high predicted lifetime risks of diabetes, it is possible to prevent or postpone diabetes by effective lifestyle modification.
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