India’s fight against diabetes must begin with healthy diets and regular exercise, say doctors.
“Dietary changes and increase in physical activities are among the first recommendations given to any diabetics or those with pre-diabetes, even before they are put on anti-diabetes medicines,” said Dr Shashank Joshi, president, Endocrine Society of India.
Doctors said in a city like Mumbai, it is difficult to motivate people to follow a healthy lifestyle. Dr Anil Bhoraskar of the International Diabetes Federation said that Indians are culturally fond of eating and tend to overindulge. “Look at all our Indian festivals. There is one thing common, which is food,” said Dr Boraskar.
“Stress, lack of physical activity and sedentary lifestyles are the main reasons for the growing incidence of type-2 diabetes in India,” Joshi added.
“Even leisure activities in a city like Mumbai are mostly associated with eating and drinking alcohol. The city’s infrastructure [and the lack of space] don’t motivate people to step out of their houses and exercise,” Dr Boraskar said.
According to the International Diabetes Federation, one in 11 adults has diabetes. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 8% of Indian adults (61.3 million) have the disease. However, experts pointed out that the incidence of type-2 diabetes is increasing even among children.
“We have patients as young as eight years old who have obesity and diabetes. In almost all cases, our investigation of the patient’s lifestyle and history indicate that bad habits and lack of exercise are the main causes of the disease,” said Aarti Ullal, diabetologist, Global Hospitals, Parel.