The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimated that the number of diabetics in India are likely to rise to 101 million by 2030.
Countrywide, there are currently 70 million diabetics and another 80 million more in the pre-diabetes stage. Urban India sees the prevalence of diabetes 6 times more as compared to the rural zones. On the occasion of World Diabetes Day 2016, Apollo Munich Health Insurance released research findings conducted along with Nielsen India Pvt Ltd, to understand the awareness levels of diabetes amongst those owning or planning to buy health cover.
‘People are fairly aware of the causes and the cures for diabetes. However, they still do not follow healthy lifestyles.’
The research findings revealed a heartening fact that people are fairly aware of the causes and the cures for diabetes. However, they still do not follow healthy lifestyles. When quizzed on how to control diabetes, respondents across all age groups from 25 years and above stated that one's health condition improves with regular works outs, which can bring diabetes under control, especially amongst those polled in North and East India. There is also a strong belief that diabetes leads to further health issues in the long term. While comparing notions of diabetes, more people based in metros believe that diabetes is also caused by stress, as compared to those living in small towns.
Despite understanding how diabetes occurs, only 19% respondents attend a gym/yoga/Zumba classes to remain healthy and a whopping 61% skip their breakfast and compensate with a heavier lunch, leading to the growing incidence of Type 2 diabetes.
In order to understand the trend in diabetes further, Apollo Munich conducted an in-house study on 8 lakh corporate health insurance customers across the country and found that the incidence of diabetes is 9 times higher for ageing Indian workforce. The findings revealed that incidence of diabetes takes a huge leap by 20% in age bracket 46-60 years amongst the corporate workforce, as compared to those between the age brackets 36-45 years. Alarmingly, the incidence is 50% higher for those in the age bracket of 56-60 years. The erratic and long working hours of corporate India is painting a gruesome picture with 1 in 5 employees suffering from either diabetes or hypertension, resulting in higher risk of developing life threatening diseases at a later stage.
Speaking about the study, Antony Jacob, CEO, Apollo Munich Health Insurance, said, "Our data clearly emphasizes that our workforce is at a higher risk of getting diabetes by the time they reach their mid-forties, which is when they reach the middle - top management cadre, where the pressure to perform is high and stress levels peak. Once contracted, diabetes is a long-term ailment, and therefore the average claim size is 90% higher for diabetes as compared to expenses related to other diseases. It has been medically proven that diabetes can be controlled extensively with exercise and diet restrictions and through this current survey, we hope to address people's awareness levels on how to control diabetes, as well as to pick health insurance policies that not only covers diabetes, but handholds one to lead a better lifestyle through wellness programs, health coach etc."
Helping to highlight the extent of the underlying problem of diabetes amongst corporate India's workforce, Apollo Munich's survey shows that in gender wise analysis - women in the corporate sector are less affected with the frequency of diabetes then men. Further, the average claims for diabetes related ailments made by men is almost 13% higher than women, showing that women are managing their diabetes better than their male counter parts.
"The evidence of growing diabetics is more acute amongst the working population in corporate India. We have found that the average length of stay in a hospital for a diabetes related complication is 7 days as compared to 4.5 days of hospital stay for other diseases. Besides the mental and physical agony, this also causes productivity loss in terms of absence from work in case of hospitalization. Diabetes is slowly affecting corporate India by impairing the productivity of its work force, increase absenteeism at work and also affect the quality of life of its people. Corporates should consider opting for group insurance plans that include wellness solutions for their employees to reduce the incidence of diabetes and also possibly aid in controlling its implications. Such a step will surely help corporates achieve better productivity levels." added Mr. Jacob.