Rapid Urbanization and shift in socio dynamic factors make children more prone to the risk of Type 2 diabetes
  • On World Diabetes Day, doctors at Columbia Asia Hospitals, Gurgaon, advocate more physical activity for children

Gurgaon, Nov 15, 2014: With 65 million people living with diabetes, health experts acknowledge that India is already facing an epidemic of diabetes. Diabetes not just complicates everyday living, it also puts the affected person at strong risk of complications of the heart, kidneys, brain and eyes.

As we struggle to find ways to contain the ramifications of this health disorder, a dangerous subtheme is the increasing incidence of diabetes among children in India. As we observe the World Diabetes Day, we need to take a closer look at the seriousness of the threat in children and the reasons driving the dangerous trend.

Diabetes today is one of the world’s major health disorders. Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the pancreas. It is important for metabolism and utilization of energy from the ingested nutrients – especially glucose. In type 1 diabetes, an auto-immune reaction attacks the cells that produce insulin resulting in very little or no insulin production. On the other hand, type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance in which the body fails to utilize the insulin produced by the pancreas. Both conditions cause the levels of glucose go erratic in the blood.

Type 2 diabetes comprises almost 90 per cent of the total diabetes incidence and is considered as adult-onset diabetes. Though there is no consolidated data on T2DM in children in India, doctors are witnessing a dangerous trend of children being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in recent years.

“The risk factors of diabetes are directly co-related with urban life. Lack or total absence of physical activity in children, who are more often glued to television sets or video games rather than the playing field; and food habits comprising of high fat, high energy foods that result in obesity, are direct socio-economic consequences or rapid urbanization that put children under the threat of type 2 diabetes,” says Dr. Ravindra Gupta, General Physician, Columbia Asia Hospital.

In recent years, health surveys in countries like the United States, and UK have also indicated that children of Indian-origin have been reporting increasing incidence of type 2 diabetes.

“One of the major points that we need to highlight is that type 2 diabetes can be prevented. Preventive measures adopted at the right time can go a long way in saving a generation from succumbing to diabetes and related health complications. One of the most essential components of healthy living is exercising. With urbanization and move to a more sedentary lifestyle, the need for exercise increases even more in our lives. 30 minutes of daily exercise – anything from running to cycling to swimming or brisk walking – can go a long way in cutting the risk of excessive weight gain and the onset of diabetes,” says Dr. Ravindra Gupta, General Physician, Columbia Asia Hospital.

Schools are the right place to inculcate a habit of daily physical training in children. Along with ensuring good academic credentials for children, it is equally important to put them on course to a healthy adult life. Exercising and daily sports should be adopted as a mandatory health practice in schools.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are more than 346 million people worldwide suffering from diabetes. According to International Diabetes Federation (IDF), India with 65 million diabetics was second only to China in 2013 in the number of people afflicted with the disorder. CCI Newswire

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