Every 7th Chandigarh resident is diabetic, the highest incidence in 15 states
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Every 7th Chandigarh resident is diabetic, the highest incidence in 15 states

Chandigarh has highest incidence among 15 states; urban poor also afflicted, migrant population could be an important variable

punjab Updated: Jun 12, 2017 16:45 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Chandigarh,diabetic,junk food
(Shutterstock/Representative Image)

UT residents could be doing less physical activity and having more junk food, thus city figures at the top in percentage of diabetic cases, say experts.

The doctors say highest per capita income, genetic predisposition and large number of migratory population could be other reasons behind it. Chandigarh had largest number of participants in the study as compared to other states.

A study released last week had found that overall prevalence of diabetes is 14% in Chandigarh, highest in 15 states, which were included. The city’s 27% poor were also found having diabetes. The results were of an ongoing study, conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research-India Diabetes study, and published last week in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

“Chandigarh has highest per capita income, which means people are more likely to stay indoors and less involved in physical activity,” said Dr Mandeep Singla, endocrinologist, GMCH-32. “Physical inactivity, excessive intake of junk food that is rich in carbohydrates are the other two reasons. Until people don’t improve their lifestyle, they will continue to get metabolic diseases.” he added.

Dr Sanjay Bhadada, endocrinologist, PGIMER, said another reason could be in city a large number of people are from Punjab and they have highest waist circumference, blood pressure and BMI (body mass index).

Dr Bhadada said the exact cause is not clear but there is theory called Barker’s hypothesis, which can explain the scenario. “According to the theory, baby does not get good nourishment in utero and during infancy are more prone to develop metabolic disorders like diabetes in life. Reason being that their organs like pancreas do not grow properly,” Dr Bhadada explained.


The study has found that in the urban areas of UT, the prevalence of diabetes among individuals in the low Socio Economic Status (SES) is 27%, which is more than double the incidence among individuals in high SES, which is 13%.

“Now, large numbers of migratory people live in the city. They do not get good nourishment in their states but when they shift to Chandigarh, they get food in abundance. Their body does not adjust to the change in the environment of abundance food, leading to diabetes. This could be one of the reason, but this is just one hypothetical theory,” Dr Bhadada added.

The experts said the shift in diabetes towards urban poor is a cause of concern, as the treatment is lifelong and costly. The cost varies from Rs 50 to Rs 200 per day. Also, it can lead to lots of complications, including heart attack and kidney failure.

According to a government report of 2016, Chandigarh had per capita income of Rs 2.42 lakh during 2015-16. The study found that the prevalence of diabetes seems to be higher in states with greater per capita income.


This study is largest ever to investigate diabetes in India. The prevalence of diabetes in all 15 states of India was 7%. The prevalence of diabetes varied from 4% in Bihar to 14% in UT.

The diabetes epidemic in India is in a transition mode and it is a cause of worry for health experts.

Reason: The disease of the “rich” is now spreading to urban poor living in affluent states, who can hardly afford the medication. The study showed that prevalence of diabetes was higher among poor people (low SES) living in urban areas of affluent states like Chandigarh, Punjab, Maharashtra and others.

Nearly half of the people (47%) tested with diabetes during the study were never tested earlier for the disease.


Diabetes is a chronic, metabolic disease characterised by elevated levels of blood glucose (or blood sugar), which leads over time to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys , and nerves. The most common is type-2 diabetes, usually in adults, which occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn’t make enough insulin


Excessive excretion of urine (polyuria), thirst (polydipsia), constant hunger, weight loss, vision changes and fatigue. These symptoms may occur suddenly.


Over time, diabetes can damage the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves Adults with diabetes have a 2-3-fold increased risk of heart attacks and strokes Combined with reduced blood flow, neuropathy (nerve damage) in feet increases chance of foot ulcers, infection and eventual need for limb amputation Diabetic retinopathy is an important cause of blindness, and occurs as a result of long-term accumulated damage to the small blood vessels in the retina. 2.6% of global blindness can be attributed to diabetes Diabetes is among the leading causes of kidney failure


Simple lifestyle measures have been shown to be effective in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes. People should: Achieve and maintain healthy body weight Be physically active – at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days. More activity is required for weight control Eat a healthy diet, avoiding sugar and saturated fats intake; and Avoid tobacco use – smoking increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases Diagnosis and treatment Early diagnosis can be accomplished through relatively inexpensive testing of blood sugar. Treatment of diabetes involves diet and physical activity along with lowering blood glucose and the levels of other known risk factors that damage blood vessels. Tobacco use cessation is also important to avoid complications (Source: WHO)

First Published: Jun 12, 2017 09:55 IST