While there are numerous health issues that India is battling with, diabetes is one of the most worrying. The International Diabetes Federation projects that the number of Indians with diabetes will soar to 123 million by 2040. Currently, 5% of the Indian population suffers from diabetes. It is a chronic illness where one’s body is unable to control its blood glucose level, which may also lead to heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, amputations etc. Adults with diabetes have a two- to three-fold increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.
World Health Organisation has stated that diabetes is more likely to be found in low and middle-income countries. According to their data, there was an estimate of 3.4 million deaths due to high blood sugar in India. In the year 2000, the total number of diabetics in India stood at 31.7 million and is expected to rise by more than 100% in the year 2030 to account for 79.4 million. It currently affects an estimated 143 million people worldwide and the number is growing rapidly.
What is causing this rapid increase in diabetes cases in India? Indian food habits are deemed to be unhealthy, due to the presence of high quantity of fats and carbohydrates. Individuals with excessive weight are at a greater risk of falling prey to lifestyle diseases such as diabetes. Overeating is a habit developing at a growing pace in adolescents and young adults.
The most prominent work culture perpetuated in the country, which includes sitting for hours in one position and eating fast food with little or no physical activity, is a major contributor to diabetes in the working age group.
The government, realizing the seriousness of the issue, tried to implement steps to either curb diabetes or factors leading to it. For instance, it partially levied a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages and carbonated drinks. Whether or not it cultivated the desired outcome is yet to be seen.