A whopping 66.11 per cent of children possess “abnormal levels of sugar” in their body, found a pan-India survey. Of the 17,000 children screened over a period of three years, a total of 51.76 per cent male children were found having abnormal HbAlc (an indicator of diabetic control) levels, with the highest prevalence among children in the western zone.
“Western Zone had highest percentage of abnormality with 68.48 per cent while eastern and northern zone had 61.48 per cent and 64.71 per cent, respectively. Among the four zones, southern India showed the lowest percentage of abnormality with 54.95 per cent,” said Leena Chatterjee, Director, Fortis SRL Labs and SRL Strategic Initiatives, which carried out the survey.
The findings of the survey, conducted between 2012-2014, were released today on the occasion World Diabetes Day. The survey checked the response to diabetes therapy and diagnosis of pre-diabetes and diabetes in the children through HbA1c tests, said Chatterjee.
“Rapid urbanisation, change in eating habits and shifting more focus to indoor activities have resulted in dramatic lifestyle changes leading to chronic condition associated with abnormally high levels of sugar in children,” said Chatterjee.
Chatterjee asked people not to become alarmed with a diagnosis of pre-diabetes citing it is a warning sign and a chance to make changes for the better. “We understand that it’s pretty difficult to cut out sugar completely, but one can start by skipping it in milk, choosing non-sugary breakfasts, avoiding juice beverages, and limiting bread, pasta and rice.
“It is essential that children and adolescents get themselves tested if they are overweight with body weight exceeding 120 per cent of the ideal weight or they have positive family history among first and second degree relatives and if they have signs of insulin resistance,” Chatterjee said.
According to World Health Organization, 80 per cent of all new cases of diabetes are predicted to occur in the developing countries by 2025. In 2012, an estimated 1.5 million deaths were directly caused by diabetes and more than 80 per cent of diabetes deaths occur in low and middle income countries.
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