More translational research through community empowerment is required to cope with the diabetes epidemic, said V. Mohan, president, Madras Diabetes Research Foundation.

He was speaking at a conference organised by the department of biotechnology of Stella Maris College on Friday. , Dr. Mohan said the diabetes epidemic in the country would spiral upwards in the short term because of demographic and epidemiological transitions, rapid urbanisation, industrialisation, increasing income levels, and changing lifestyle.

“Over 77.2 million people are in the pre-diabetes stage in the country. This gives us a great window of opportunity for prevention,” he said, pointing to the success in translational research through community participation at Asiad Colony, Thirumangalam.

The residents of Asiad Colony recorded a lower rate of increase in cardio-metabolic disease risk factors, because of increased physical activity levels as a result of community empowerment.

“We said you have to find a place to walk. The residents built a park themselves,” said Dr. Mohan.

“Start that movement. That movement has to come,” he said. “Many institutions do not have a playground. Over 30 per cent of students in private schools are obese.”

He also stressed the need for kindling ‘the spirit of research among youngsters.’

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