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Every fourth adult in India has high BP

delhi Updated: May 17, 2012 09:42 IST
Sanchita Sharma

One in four adults in India has high blood pressure, which kills 7.5 million people worldwide each year — more than AIDS, diabetes, road accidents and tuberculosis put together.

In India, 23.1% men and 22.6% women — roughly one in four — have high BP, a notch lower than the global prevalence of one in three adults, says the World Health Statistics 2012 released Wednesday.

High BP (upper systolic reading >140, and lower diastolic reading =90) causes half of all deaths from heart disease and stroke, the two leading causes of death worldwide. http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/5/17_05-pg-11b.jpg

Obesity is the other major health concern, with the number of overweight people having doubled between 1980 and 2008. “Today, half a billion people (12% of the world’s population) is obese,” said Dr Ties Boerma, director of the department of health statistics and information systems, WHO.

In India, 1.3% men and 2.5% women are obese, defined as the body mass index (BMI = weight in kg/ height in metres x height in metres) of over 30. The highest obesity levels are in the Americas (26% adults) and the lowest in Southeast Asia (3%).

Obesity kills 2.8 million people each year. Women are more likely to be obese than men, which puts them at greater risk of diabetes, heart disease and some cancers, such as those of the breast, bowel and kidney.

Globally, one in 10 adults has diabetes, says the report. Indian prevalence is similar, with 11.1% men and 10.8% women being diabetic. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to heart disease, blindness and kidney failure.

India has the highest number of maternal deaths, accounting for 20% of the 290,000 deaths in 2010. Globally the rate dropped 47% -- from more than 540,000 in 1990 to less than 290,000 in 2010.