There are an estimated 77.2 million people in India who are suffering from pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes is a condition in which the patients have high blood glucose level but were not in the diabetes range. These people are at high risk of getting diabetes.

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) estimated that the country already had around 65.1 million diabetes patients. Only China, with 98.4 million cases, has more diabetes patients globally, according to V. Mohan, president of Madras Diabetes Research Foundation.

22 per cent Chennai residents diabetic

Addressing ‘ICE 2014,’ an international conference on endocrinology and metabolic diseases organised by Kovai Medical Center and Hospital (KMCH) here on Sunday, he said that another recent study had found that 22 per cent of Chennai residents had diabetes.

India had dramatically changed in the last two decades.

It had witnessed rapid urbanisation, demographic transition and lifestyle modifications. Tamil Nadu, where 50 per cent of the population now live in the cities, was the most urbanised State.

This trend was causing an increase in stress, pressure and anxiety, all of which contributed to diabetes. Further, the ICMR study found that just over 5 per cent of the adults engaged in some form of physical activity. At least one out of every six adolescent in India was now overweight, he said.

Diabetes was now found in persons as young as 15 years. Among the main reasons was sedentary lifestyle, Mr. Mohan said, adding that escalators, which have become ubiquitous now, shared a major portion of the blame.

Mr. Mohan said that 17 million people suffered kidney problems arising out of diabetes, but only a few could afford the costs of treatment.

As such, the focus must be on enacting preventive measures such as promoting physical activity.

The ICMR-INdia-DIABetes (ICMR-INDIAB) study had been completed in 14 States. This included Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Chandigarh, which account for 218 million people. Nalla G. Palaniswami, chairman of KMCH, spoke.