Indian Diet and Its Impact on Obesity and Cardiac Diseases
by Dr. Sania Siddiqui
March 11, 2011 at 7:06 PM
The role of diet and eating habits in India's progressing chronic disease epidemic is unclear but needs to be studied more precisely to establish a coherent relation between the two.
India has the highest prevalence of diabetes in the world. Indian people are also at a much higher risk for cardio-metabolic disorders at younger ages and lower BMI as compared with their Western counterparts.Earlier studies have indicated that demographic changes, urbanization and changes in dietary patterns contribute to this trend. Although India is still trying to overcome poverty, under-nutrition and communicable disease on one hand, the emergence of 'nutrition transition' due to economic betterment and industrialization is causing cardio-metabolic diseases, especially, in urban areas.
In India, diet varies from region to region. Amidst this "nutrition transition" across the country, noticeable variation is seen among the population of north and south towards the susceptibility of cardio-metabolic risk factors related to diet. For example, hiiHigh fat consumption, corresponding to approximately 40 percent of total energy intake, more so in Delhi and Mumbai, indicated that components of Indian diet may be contributing to this risk.
A multi center pilot study by "India Health" was conducted to investigate the connection and correlation between regional diet and chronic diseases. It included men and women between the age group of 35 to 69, who provided lifestyle, diet, and medical histories, blood pressure, urine, fasting blood, and other anthropometric measurements such as skin folds, height, weight, waist, and hip circumference. Two dietary patterns were identified with factor analysis in Delhi, Mumbai, and Trivandrum, In multiple cases models adjusted for age, gender, income, education, religion, marital status, physical activity, alcohol, tobacco, and total energy intake. Associations between regional dietary patterns and abdominal adiposity, diabetes, hypertension, and dyslipidemia were investigated.
The results showed that more than 80 percent of the participants had abdominal adiposity and around 10 to 28 percent of participants turned out to be diabetics.'
In Delhi region, the "fruit and dairy" dietary pattern was noticed to be positively associated with abdominal adiposity. In Mumbai, the "fruit and vegetable" pattern was inversely associated with high blood pressure and the "meat and snack" pattern appeared associated with abdominal adiposity. In Trivandrum, the "pulses and rice" pattern was inversely related to high blood glucose levels and the "snacks and sweets" pattern was positively associated with abdominal adiposity.
The study concluded that cardio-metabolic risk factors were strongly prevalent in the given population. Across all regions, it was noticed that there was very little evidence of Westernized diet. Dietary patterns characterized by animal products, sweets, or fried snacks appeared to be positively associated with abdominal adiposity. Traditional diets in the Southern region which mainly consisted of more pulses and vegetables showed the probability of lesser risk of diabetes and hypertension.
The researchers felt that for better understanding of risk factors in the given population and the possible means of prevention, a continued investigation of diet, as well as other environmental and biological factors has to be studied further.
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