Kerala fast turning into diabetes capital

A study finds that over two-thirds of the state’s population are diabetic.

Published: 27th August 2017 09:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th August 2017 09:12 AM   |  A+A-

KOCHI: A study conducted among the denizens of Kerala between the age group of 45 and 69 has found over two-thirds of the state’s population (67.7 per cent) are either diabetic or pre-diabetic.

The Achutha Menon Centre for Health Science Studies, an NGO, conducted the study among a representative sample of over 12,000 urban and rural adults in 14 districts. The survey, which was carried out to generate state-level estimates regarding prevalence of risk factors or risk conditions of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), followed the World Health Organisation(WHO) recommended methodology for NCD risk factor surveillance.

It also emerged a mere 13 per cent and  16 per cent of the persons diagnosed with hypertension and diabetes achieved adequate blood pressure and blood sugar control status, respectively. “It is an alarming trend as most of our health indices are compared to those of the developed West. The rising incidence is basically due to Malayalees’ mindset. We think there is a pill for every ailment,” said  K R Thankappan,  emeritus professor, Achutha Menon Centre for Health Science Studies and the survey’s chief investigator. The major NCDs are cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and clinical lung disorder, in that order. 
“The incidence of heart attacks among Malayalees is rising. If it was 1.3 per cent in 1993, it has jumped to 3.8 per cent in 2016. It is the ‘let’s see’ attitude whether it is a heart attack or accidents which is proving the bane,” said  Thankappan.

The survey has found that 69 per cent of the population consumes salt in excess of the recommended 5 gm daily. “It is for the first time  these statistics have come out. Mainly bakery products, especially banana, potato and tapioca chips, and pickles are to blame for the high salt intake,” he said. More than three-fourth of the population (77.8 per cent) reported consumption of less than the recommended three servings of vegetables per day, while almost nine out of 10 participants (86 per cent) reported consumption of less than two servings of fruits per day. It also found that one out of every four adults surveyed reported current use of tobacco in some form and over 30 per cent reported current alcohol use among males.

  • 77.8% of the population reportedly consume less than the recommended three servings of vegetables per day

  • 67.7% population in Kerala between the age group of 45 and 69 are either diabetic or pre-diabetic.

  • Achutha Menon Centre for Health Science Studies carried out The study among a representative sample of over 12,000 urban and rural adults in 14 districts

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