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A pan-India survey reveals over two-thirds of children prone to diabetes

Posted:  Thursday, December 03, 2015

The after effects of indulging in an unhealthy lifestyle and poor eating habits are catching up with the country! A nation-wide survey has gathered evidence indicating that over two-thirds of Indian children are prone to diabetes.

In 2012, 1.50 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes of which more than 80% is attributable to low & middle income countries. Further, by the year 2025, it is anticipated that developing countries will contribute to 80% of all new cases of diabetes, and the disease is expected to become the 7th leading cause of death by 2030.

A pan-India survey carried out by SRL Diagnostics between 2012 and 2014 tracked the diagnosis of pre-diabetes and diabetes in children and the response to diabetes therapy. The glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) level was evaluated in 17,000 children across India.

The zone-wise prevalence of abnormal HbA1c levels was 64.71%, 54.95%, 61.48%, 68.48% in the north, south, east and west zones, respectively. The abnormal levels were also more prevalent in male children (51.76%). The findings show that while the southern zone had the lowest percent of this abnormality, the western zone topped the list.

The researchers attribute the abnormal HbA1c levels, a marker for high blood sugar levels, to rapid urbanisation, changes in eating habits, and transition to indoor activities coupled with dramatic lifestyle changes. Over the past 2 decades, diabetes has emerged as a major public health issue in children and children with diabetes risk kidney disorders and stroke during adulthood.

What’s worse is that of late, adult predominant type 2 diabetes is cropping up during childhood as well. In this regard, Leena Chatterjee, Director - Fortis SRL Labs and SRL Strategic Initiatives warned that, "Children and teenagers who are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes have a short life expectancy. It is advised that those with Type 2 diabetes in their families must visit their physicians frequently and make healthy choices earlier in life."

It is advisable that the pre-diabetes condition be taken as a cautionary sign. Parents could encourage children with the condition to adopt simple lifestyle changes such as limiting sugar intake and indulging in non-sugary breakfasts or meals. Children who are overweight and have a family history of diabetes should also meet with their doctor for regular medical checks.

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