Tuesday, 24 June 2014

5 Reasons For High Prevalence of Diabetes in India

India is becoming the Diabetic Capital of the world. As per WHO estimates, currently 6% of the population has some form of diabetes in India. By 2020, the percentage will increase to 9%. More importantly, majority of the people who are now becoming diabetic, have no family history of diabetes.

Now this is something to worry about but we hardly see anybody taking it seriously. The irony is, rather than making permanent changes in the basic lifestyle, people are waiting for scientists to find the genes that are responsible for diabetes.

1. Genetic vulnerability to Type 2 Diabetes:
During primitive times when food the scarcest thing around, human's genetic make up was evolved to cope up with this scarcity. The populations spread across the globe, specially Indians are genetically designed to live in food scarce environment.

As we became civilized, the life we were exposed to started changing. Among other things, there came a supply of unending food supply. The extra food (calorie intake) is sufficient to push us into the insulin resistance that takes a form of Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 also known as Non Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM).

2. Body Composition:
We Indians have less lean muscle and more body fat. We also tend to put on fats pretty quickly. The lack of adequate muscle mass is one of the reasons. Most of the fat deposit happens in the mid section. This lack of balanced body composition is one of the factors responsible for increasing prevalence of diabetes in India.

3. Diet Composition:
The calories we ingest are mainly in the form of carbohydrates only. On an average, carbohydrates make about 65-80% of the food we eat. Other essential macro-nutrients like protein and fats make up the rest. Ideally the Carbohydrate/Protein/Fat ratio should be 40/30/30. But that is hardly the case. Just look at our major food. Chapatis, rice, potato and processed sugar. They together go well beyond 65% of the total food that we eat.

4. Low Protein in Diet:
An average Indian eats less than half of the protein needed by the body. This further affects our masculinity Less muscle mass is another reason for developing Type II Diabetes. Many doctors have started prescribing Protein rich diets and weight training to people with family history of Type II Diabetes as a preventive measure.

5. Lack of Adequate Exercise:
Traditionally in India, not much emphasis is given on sports and activities. All parents want their kids to study well, get a degree and secure a high paying job. Sports, at best second or third priority. Increasing population and rising property rates have made sports even costlier. Only schools with high fee structures have good sports facilities. Hence, the majority of school going children are deprived of adequate exercise. When these children grow up, they continue the same lifestyle and become soft victims of rising diabetic epidemic.

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