Over 11 per cent Indians diabetic, 36 per cent have hypertension: Lancet survey shows

The estimate shows that 254 million people in India had generalised obesity, and 351 million had abdominal obesity in 2021

RBS checking (photo: Getty Images)
RBS checking (photo: Getty Images)


The prevalence of diabetes in India is 11.4 per cent, while 35.5 per cent and 15.3 per cent of people suffer from hypertension and prediabetes respectively, according to the findings of a nationwide survey published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal.

The largest epidemiological study on diabetes and non-communicable diseases (NCD) estimates that in 2021, there were 101 million people with diabetes in India, 136 million with prediabetes, and 315 million had high blood pressure.

The study, conducted by the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation (MDRF) in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and funded by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, also found that the prevalence of generalised obesity and abdominal obesity in India stood at 28.6 and 39.5 per cent, respectively.

The estimate shows that 254 million people in India had generalised obesity, and 351 million had abdominal obesity in 2021.

In 2017, the team found that the prevalence of diabetes in India was around 7.5 per cent, meaning there has been an increase of over 50 per cent in the burden since then.

Among the states, Goa (26.4 per cent) had the highest prevalence of diabetes and Uttar Pradesh (4.8 per cent) had the lowest, while Sikkim (31.3 per cent) and Mizoram (6.8 per cent) had the highest and lowest burden of prediabetes.

Punjab (51.8 per cent) had the highest prevalence of hypertension while Meghalaya (24.3 per cent) had the highest burden, the researchers said.

"The steep increase in NCDs can be attributed mostly to the lifestyle choices of people such as diet, physical activity, stress levels etc. The positive news is that interventions can be used to curb the trend. Our study has multiple implications for the planning and provision of health care in India," Dr. R. M. Anjana, President, MDRF, told PTI.

"The diabetes epidemic in India is in transition, with some states having already reached their peak rates while others are just getting started. These states may see an increase in prevalence over the next 3-5 years before plateauing," Anjana, lead author of the study, said.

The results, assessing the burden of NCDs across the states, are based on a survey of 1,13,043 (over 1.1akh) people (33,537 urban and 79,506 rural residents), in 31 states and Union Territories in the country, between 2008 and 2020.

The survey also showed that an alarming 81.2 per cent have dyslipidaemia -- the imbalance of lipids such as cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, (LDL-C), triglycerides, and high-density lipoprotein (HDL).

All metabolic NCDs except prediabetes were more frequent in urban than rural areas. In many states with a lower human development index, the ratio of diabetes to prediabetes was less than 1.

"Our study results have multiple implications for the planning and provision of health care in India," said V. Mohan, Chairman, Dr. Mohan's Diabetes Specialities Centre (DMDSC) and MDRF.

"State governments in India, who are primarily in charge of providing healthcare in their respective regions, will be especially interested in the detailed state-level data on these NCDs as it will allow them to develop evidence-based interventions to successfully halt the progression of NCDs and manage their complications," Mohan, senior author of the study, said in a statement.

The team, including researchers from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, conducted the survey in multiple phases with a stratified multistage sampling design, using three-level stratification based on geography, population size, and socioeconomic status of each state.

"The prevalence of diabetes and other metabolic NCDs in India is considerably higher than previously estimated. While the diabetes epidemic is stabilising in the more developed states of the country, it is still increasing in most other states," the authors of the study said.

"Thus, there are serious implications for the nation, warranting urgent state-specific policies and interventions to arrest the rapidly rising epidemic of metabolic NCDs in India," they said.

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