Hyderabad: According to a recent survey commissioned by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), 1.1% of children in Telangana below 19 have diabetes, and one in every ten children in the state is prediabetic. The Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey (CNNS) (2016-2018) by the MoHFW reveals some alarming rate of nutritional status of Indian children from 0-19 years of age.
Dr M Nagi Reddy, Clinical Endocrinologist, said, “Diabetes is a well-known disease or a clinical condition to Telangana as it has reached epidemic proportions affecting a good majority of adults. When we are still coming to terms about the best ways to deal with, or even better prevent it, we now face a new challenge of childhood or Juvenile Diabetes. The medical terminology for the usual adult-onset Diabetes is Type 2 Diabetes and childhood diabetes is Type 1 Diabetes.”
Reacting to the surprising number, Dr Hari Kishen, General Physician, Apollo Hospital, said, “1.1% is a huge number that needs to be addressed. Diabetes is a polyfactorial disease. However, obesity is a major reason for this condition among children. 10-11 years of age are vulnerable to obesity. Parents force kids to eat, but they are not concerned about the importance of physical fitness in children.”
He added that prediabetic is a condition that can lead to diabetes. If treated with the required medication and exercise, it can be delayed in children.
Childhood Diabetes is divided into genetic and environmental causes. Environmental causes come under the control of the individual and can be modified with an effort from the patient along with a doctor’s help. A few reasons for childhood diabetes is lack of physical exercise, overeating of high-calorie foods such as sweets and chocolate, a diet of junk food, less fibre in the diet and sedentary lifestyle.
According to Dr Reddy, South Asians historically, and particularly South Indian, are more prone to develop diabetes generically. “It was earlier considered more an adult-onset disease of the obese and affluent class of people. However, today, childhood diabetes has become common in India. It has still not reached the proportions of the western world yet,” he opined.
CNNS is the largest comprehensive micronutrient survey ever implemented globally. The study also cites the prevalence of chronic kidney diseases in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. According to the survey, 7% of school children and adolescents are at risk of chronic kidney diseases as measured by high serum creatinine.
Among children, the prevalence of low BMI is highest in Telangana, Karnataka and West Bengal. In the survey, 5% of adolescents were classified as being hypertensive. Telangana shows the prevalence of hypertension in 6.7% of adolescents.
Dr Ravi Sankar Erukulapati, Senior Endocrinologist with Apollo Hospitals, said, “India is the diabetes capital of the world. We at Hyderabad are unfortunately leading the nation with our high diabetes prevalence rates, which is certainly worrying. Studies have shown that Type 2 Diabetes is prevalent in both the haves and have-nots due to high consumption of less nutritious junk foods. Urbanisation and globalisation have brought with them, junk and processed foods, and changes in our lifestyles, affecting Telangana as much as other parts of India.”
CNNS also points to the persisting income inequalities in the country and non- communicable diseases (NCD) have arisen as significant causes of death among children across every section.
Dr B Narahari, Telangana Government Doctors Association general secretary, said, “In Telangana, the BPL class is still suffering from malnutrition. While for children from middle and upper-middle-class, it’s about BP and diabetes. Children in slums die due to malnutrition because they don’t have minimal food. Soon after delivery, their mothers are compelled to go for work. Hence, the children are forced to survive with cow milk rather than breastfeeding. On the other hand, whether hypertension or diabetes, in children, both conditions can be attributed to obesity.”
Apart from Telangana, other states are also under the threat of an increasing number of prediabetic adolescents. According to the survey, the states that top the list are Haryana (25%) and Goa (24%).