Once known as the rich man’s disease, diabetes has now entered a new demographic in India. The disease is increasingly becoming more common among people from the low Socio-Economic Status (SES) segments – those who live in urban areas of economically more developed states, according to an ongoing study published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology on Wednesday. The study funded by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Department of Health Resources of the Union Health Ministry and conducted by ICMR-INdia DIABetes attempts to study the prevalence of diabetes and pre-diabetes in the country, as reported by the Indian Express.
The results uploaded online included data from 11 states, which were surveyed during the second and third phase of the study. These two phases of the study were conducted in between September 2012 and July 2015. There is also unpublished data from three states Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Jharkhand as well as data from Union territory of Chandigarh, IE reported.
According to the study, diabetes is more prevalent in urban areas (11.2 percent) than rural areas (5.2 percent) in seven of the 15 areas surveyed in the three phases of the study. It was also found that the disease is more prevalent in villages when compared to cities and towns. The disease is more prevalent in rural areas in states which are economically more advanced. These states are Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tripura and Manipur, and Chandigarh.
Richer states also generally have higher prevalence rates of diabetes. The areas surveyed had an average rate of diabetes at 7.3 percent. As per the study, Chandigarh at 13.6 percent has the highest rate of diabetes while Bihar at 4.3 percent has the lowest rate of diabetes in the nation.
Punjab has the unenviable distinction of the highest percentage of diabetes patients in rural areas (8.7 percent) followed by Chandigarh (8.3 percent) and Tamil Nadu (7.8 percent). Prevalence of the disease in urban areas is highest in Tripura (15.5 percent), followed by Chandigarh (14.2 percent) and Tamil Nadu (13.7 percent).
In urban areas of Chandigarh, the spread of diabetes among low SES is 26.9 percent, this is more than double the prevalence rate of High SES (15.4 percent). This trend is reversed in Bihar where people from higher Socio-Economic Section. In Bihar, those among high SES have a diabetes prevalence rate of 15.4 percent and those from low SES have a prevalence rate of 4.7 percent.
Dr Soumya Swaminathan, director-general of ICMR said that diabetes prevalence is higher in more developed states. She added that prediabetes is high even in less developed states. She also said that “In the coming years more people will develop diabetes”.