How many people in India are diabetic

Press release: High rates of diabetes and high blood pressure in India

No. 26/2018 - 01/29/2018

International research team presents the first nationwide representative study

(pug) In all regions and social groups of India, middle-aged and older people have high rates of diabetes and high blood pressure. This is what an international team of researchers from the Universities of Harvard and Göttingen and the Heidelberg University Hospital discovered. The scientists presented the first nationwide representative study on this topic. In particular, the high rates of high blood pressure in young adults were unexpected. The results were in JAMA Internal Medicine, a journal of the American Medical Association.

The researchers wanted to find out how the incidence of diabetes and high blood pressure in India varies between individual states, rural and urban populations, and various socio-demographic characteristics such as education and household wealth. The health data used for this consisted of plasma glucose and blood pressure measurements from around 1.3 million adults from all over India between 2012 and 2014.

According to the study, 6.1 percent of women and 6.5 percent of men in India have diabetes, while 20 percent of women and 24.5 percent of men have high blood pressure. The rates differ greatly between the individual states, with prosperity and urban location apparently having a positive effect on both diseases. In adults under 45, high blood pressure is more common than expected: the rates are higher than in Central and Eastern Europe, where the highest rates were previously suspected in young adults.

"The burden of diabetes and high blood pressure in India is significantly greater than is commonly assumed," explains development economist Prof. Dr. Sebastian Vollmer from the University of Göttingen. “These so-called affluence diseases are not only a problem here, but increasingly also in India. Unfortunately, the health systems are only partially prepared for these new pressures. "

"Understanding how the incidence of diabetes and high blood pressure differ in a country as large as India is crucial for the active prevention, early detection and treatment of these diseases," explains the study's lead author, Dr. Pascal Geldsetzer from Harvard University. Prof. Dr. Dr. Till Bärnighausen, Director of the Institute for Public Health at Heidelberg University Hospital, adds: "Considerable investments are necessary to avert the health and social consequences of this epidemic."

About a sixth of the total world population lives in India. The country is in the middle of an epidemiological transition: the proportion of non-communicable diseases has risen in recent decades and will continue to increase as the population ages and urbanization. Meanwhile, many areas of India continue to experience significant exposure to infectious diseases and poor maternal and child health.

Original publication: Pascal Geldsetzer et al. (2018) Diabetes and Hypertension in India: A Nationally representative Study of 1.3 Million Adults. JAMA Internal Medicine. Doi: 10.1001 / jamainternmed.2017.8094.

Dr. Pascal Geldsetzer
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Department of Global Health and Population
Email: [email protected]

Prof. Dr. Sebastian Vollmer
Georg-August-University Goettingen
Professorship for Development Economics / Center for Modern Indian Studies
Email: [email protected]