Call for pol­icy, ac­tion in di­a­betes preven­tion, man­age­ment

Will take heavy toll on In­dia’s health­care sys­tem if left un­con­trolled: Global Bur­den of Dis­ease Study

The Hindu - - NATION - Ramya Kan­nan

The re­cently-re­leased Global Bur­den of Dis­ease Study 2016 has shown that the preva­lence of di­a­betes has in­creased more rapidly in the less-de­vel­oped States of the coun­try. The re­port has also high­lighted the need for pol­icy and health sys­tem ac­tion com­men­su­rate with the dis­ease bur­den in each State to en­sure more ef­fec­tive preven­tion and man­age­ment of di­a­betes.

The study, au­thored by Nikhil Tan­don et al, goes on to warn: “If un­con­trolled, di­a­betes and its com­pli­ca­tions are likely to take a heavy toll on In­dia’s health­care sys­tem in the com­ing decades.” The to­tal num­ber of peo­ple with di­a­betes grew from 26 mil­lion in 1990 to 65 mil­lion in 2016. The preva­lence of di­a­betes in In­dia was 5.5 % in 1990, but it has in­creased to 7.7 % in 2016.

‘Po­ten­tially ex­plo­sive’

Terming the in­crease “a po­ten­tially-ex­plo­sive pub­lic health sit­u­a­tion”, it calls for ef­fec­tive pol­icy im­ple­men­ta­tion. When com­bined with ap­pro­pri­ate al­lo­ca­tion of fi­nan­cial and hu­man re­sources, and a ro­bust dis­ease mon­i­tor­ing sys­tem, this would help in preven­tion, treat­ment and re­duc­tion of di­a­betes deaths and, in turn, curb the grow­ing dis­ease bur­den.

The high­est preva­lence is in Tamil Nadu and Ker­ala, fol­lowed by Delhi, Pun­jab, Goa, Kar­nataka, Mad­hya Pradesh and Tripura.

The in­crease in loss of health from di­a­betes since 1990 is the high­est among all ma­jor non com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases, says V. Mo­han, one of the col­lab­o­ra­tors for the re­port. “This is enough to com­pel us to take im­me­di­ate ac­tion in terms of aware­ness and preven­tion,” he adds.

Di­a­betes con­trib­uted to 3% of all deaths in In­dia, with an in­crease in death rates due to di­a­betes from 1990 to 2016. This high­lights the low like­li­hood of meet­ing na­tional and global tar­gets for re­duc­ing deaths due to di­a­betes by 2025 and 2030, re­spec­tively, the re­port states.

Among the risk fac­tors con­tribut­ing to di­a­betes in In­dia in 2016, high BMI had the high­est im­pact, while the other fac­tors were di­etary risks, tobacco use, oc­cu­pa­tional ex­po­sure to sec­ond­hand smoke, low phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, and al­co­hol use.

The preva­lence of be­ing over­weight in per­sons aged 20 years or older had in­creased from 9% in 1990 to 20.4% in 2016. In­ter­ven­tions to pre­vent obe­sity, pro­vid­ing pub­lic fa­cil­i­ties to in­crease phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, and tax­ing ‘sin foods’, would go a long way in re­duc­ing the num­bers, epi­demi­ol­o­gists say. “The way for­ward would be pro­vid­ing aware­ness about di­a­betes,” says R.M. An­jana, an­other con­trib­u­tor to the re­port. “Once the com­mu­nity de­cides to do some­thing, then it just takes off. If there is one thing every­one can do, and start from child­hood, it is to make sure phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity is a com­po­nent of our life, so we can keep di­a­betes at bay.”

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