A whopping 66.11 percent of Indian children possess “abnormal levels of sugar” in their body, reveals a new nationwide three-year-long survey, the results of which were released in Mumbai on Friday.
Of the 17,000 children screened pan-India, it was revealed that 51.76 percent comprise male children with abnormal HbA1c levels, with the highest prevalence among children in the western zone.
Conducted by SRL Diagnostics between 2012-2014, the pan-India survey checked the response to diabetes therapy and diagnosis of pre-diabetes and diabetes in the children through HbA1c tests.
The western zone showed the highest level — 68.48 percent abnormality, while the southern zone showed the lowest — 54.95 percent of this abnormality.
The northern zone stood second with 64.71 percent and the eastern zone came third with 61.48 percent, said Leena Chatterjee, director – Fortis SRL Labs and SRL Strategic Initiatives.
Chatterjee said rapid urbanization, changes in eating habits, shifting focus on indoor activities with dramatic lifestyle changes as the attributes leading to chronic conditions associated with abnormally high levels of sugar in kids.
Citing World Health Organisation data, she said in 2012, around 1.50 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes in the world with more than 80 percent occurring in low and middle-income countries.
Besides, 80 percent of all new cases of diabetes are expected to occur in developing countries by 2025 with diabetes slated to become the seventh leading cause of death by 2030.
In India, diabetes has emerged as a major health burden in the past two decades with further disorders among children like obesity, obstructive sleep apnoea, nausea, weight loss, frequent urination and drowsiness.
As the children reach adulthood, problems related to kidneys and strokes start amalgamating. In recent times, even children are easily affected by Type 2 diabetes which has been mostly found among adults.
“Children and teenagers who are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes have a short life expectancy. It is advised that those with Type 2 diabetes in their families must visit their physicians frequently and make healthy choices earlier in life,” she cautioned.
However, she urged that pre-diabetes condition should be treated as a warning to make suitable lifestyle changes by cutting down on sugars, choosing non-sugary breakfasts or meals, regular medical checks for children if they are overweight and family history of diabetes.