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Diabetes prevention targets schoolchildren

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Tackling diabetes: Anil Kapoor and Astric E. Hasselbach (centre) of the World Diabetes Foundation arriving at the Kulanada Medical Trust Hospital, at Kulanada recently.
Tackling diabetes: Anil Kapoor and Astric E. Hasselbach (centre) of the World Diabetes Foundation arriving at the Kulanada Medical Trust Hospital, at Kulanada recently.

Radhakrishnan Kuttoor

Project supported by World Diabetes Foundation

PATHANAMTHITTA: The Diabetic Care Centre (DCC) of Kaulanada Medical Trust Hospital has launched a unique intervention programme in association with the Denmark-based World Diabetes Foundation (WDF) to limit the incidence of diabetes in Central Travancore.

Talking to The Hindu, G. Vijayakumar, renowned diabetologist and chairman of the Kulanada Medical Trust Hospital, said the World Health Organisation had identified India as the world’s ‘diabetes capital.’ Kerala and Tamil Nadu had recorded the highest prevalence of diabetes in the country and the Central Travancore region was identified to be the worst hit in terms of diabetic incidence.

He said the DCC-WDF project was aimed at primary prevention of diabetes and other lifestyle diseases through a targeted approach. “Our strategy is to target schoolchildren and through them address the community as a whole,” he said

Anil Kapoor, WDF managing director, and Astric E. Hasselbach, programme co-ordinator, visited the centre at Kulanada recently in connection with the formal launch of the programme.

The DCC survey among adult residents in two wards of Venmony grama panchayat in Alappuzha district had recorded 4.6 per cent overall crude prevalence of ‘diabetes mellitus’ in the locality. Dr. Vijayakumar said 31.1 per cent of the population had hypertension, 34.9 per cent pre-hypertension, 10 per cent high fasting serum cholesterol above 240 mg, 28 per cent cholesterol between 200 mg and 240 mg and 35 per cent were either obese or overweight. Among men, 70 per cent, and among women, 85 per cent had central obesity, he added.

He said lifestyle changes was considered a major contributing factor to the epidemiological transition from communicable to non-communicable diseases. Overeating, faulty food, lack of exercise, change in job pattern, sedentary behaviour, increased mental stress and increased alcohol and tobacco consumption were identified as the cause for increasing incidence of chronic non-communicable diseases.

The project intends to create awareness about diabetes and improve diabetes prevention among students nearing adolescence and their parents. It expects to cover about 1,20,000 students and 1,80,000 parents in Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts over a period of five years, said G. Dileepan, project manager.

Students of class VIII, IX and X will be given six-day awareness classes of two hours each and medical check-up. As many as 100 volunteers and 2,000 teachers will take part in the endeavour, said Mr. Dileepan.

The intervention project may be extended to all other districts and to various other States in due course, according to WDF office-bearers.

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