World Health Day: Diabetes, the modern killer

The prevalence of diabetes in adult population has nearly doubled since 1980 rising from 4.7 per cent to 8.5 per cent


Diabetes on the rise globally, is physical inactivity the culprit?

Global physical inactivity is of increasing concern (ThinkStock Photos)

An estimated 422 million adults were living with diabetes in 2014, compared to 108 million in 1980. The prevalence of diabetes in adult population has nearly doubled since 1980 rising from 4.7 per cent to 8.5 per cent, as per a World Health Organization (WHO) report.

The report highlights that the instances of diabetes have risen faster in low and middle income countries.

South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions accounted for almost half all diabetes cases in the world. The WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region has seen the greatest rise in prevalence of the disease, reaching 13.7 per cent of the adult population.

Forty per cent of this increase is estimated to result from population growth and ageing, 28 per cent is due to rise in age-specific prevalence, and 32 per cent from the interaction of these two, says the WHO report.

The report adds that diabetes is not just a health issue but also puts pressure on economy. It imposes a large economic burden on global healthcare system and the wider global economy. This burden can be measured through direct medical costs, indirect costs associated with productivity loss, premature mortality and the negative impact of diabetes on nations’ gross domestic product (GDP).

The study shows that diabetes will lead to worldwide losses worth US $1.7 trillion from 2011 to 2030. This includes direct and indirect costs of diabetes, of which $900 billion will be incurred by high-income countries and $800 billion by low- and middle-income countries.

While the disease can be conquered by simple routine measures like regular physical activity that reduces the risk of diabetes and increases glucose levels.

Global physical inactivity is of increasing concern. As per the report, latest data trends show that less than a quarter of all individuals above 18 years did not meet the minimum recommendation for physical activity per week. Data also shows that women, worldwide, are less active than men, with 27 per cent of women and 20 per cent of men classified as insufficiently physically active. Physical inactivity is also alarmingly common among adolescents, with 84 per cent of girls and 78 per cent of boys not meeting minimum requirements. Physical inactivity is the highest in high-income countries where it is almost double that of low-income countries.

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