As per the Indian Council of Medical Research – India Diabetes (ICMR INDIAB) study published in 2023, the estimated prevalence of diabetes in India is 10.1 crores and abdominal obesity stands at 35 crores. The study analysed the prevalence of metabolic NCDs, namely diabetes, hypertension, obesity and dyslipidaemia and the prevalence was considerably higher than previously estimated.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Himika Chawla, MBBS, MD General Medicine, DM Endocrinologist and Metabolism at AIIMS and Consultant- Endocrinology, opined, “As India undergoes urbanisation and industrialisation, many young adults have shifted from physically demanding jobs to more sedentary occupations. The increase of desk jobs, extensive use of technology and lack of fitness activities coupled with consumption of processed foods, sugary beverages, high-calorie snacks and lack of physical activity have all contributed to overall weight gain, which is often related to an increased risk of developing diabetes and faster progression from prediabetes to diabetes.”
Addressing the rising concerns of diabetes and obesity, she insisted upon the right approach and said, “This starts with dietary recommendations that include practicing portion control with balanced diet and physical activity. Smaller, balanced meals can help regulate blood sugar levels. Regular check-ups with your healthcare provider is essential in monitoring your diabetes, adjusting treatment plans as needed, and checking for any complications. At the end of the day, it’s important to seek guidance and support from healthcare professionals, and dietitians. They can help you create a personalized plan that works for you, ensuring your long-term success in managing these non-communicable diseases.”
Talking about the intricate relationship between stress, lifestyle choices and their impact on diabetes risk, she said, “It is evident that prolonged stress and obesity can create a vicious cycle that ultimately leads to metabolic dysfunction, resulting in the development of insulin resistance and, ultimately, diabetes. Stress, in its various forms, has emerged as a silent accomplice in the rise of diabetes. The convenience of fast food, sedentary routines, and other unhealthy habits have collectively contributing to an elevated diabetes risk.”
Highlighting the need for stress management in diabetes prevention, Dr Himika Chawla said, “It is paramount to address stress as a central element in this equation. Acknowledging its profound role of stress in the lives of individuals and its influence on their lifestyle choices is crucial. Consequently, the implementation of effective stress management strategies is not merely a matter of preference but a compelling necessity. By cultivating resilience, mindfulness, and adaptive coping mechanisms, we can shield ourselves against the consequences of stress. As we explore this complex relationship between stress, lifestyle, and diabetes, we unveil the critical importance of holistic well-being, where emotional and physical health are inseparable. Preventive measures such as stress management therapies not only mitigate diabetes risk but also enrich the quality of our lives.”