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Migration Putting South Asians At Risk For Diabetes And Obesity

by Ann Samuel on September 22, 2007 at 4:27 PM
Migration Putting South Asians At Risk For Diabetes And Obesity

A non-resident Indian status is nothing to boast about, if you believe that health is wealth. According to a survey published in the journal Nutrition, migration (both inter and intra-country) brings about a higher risk of type 2 diabetes and obesity besides cardiovascular diseases and hypertension.

To be noted is that, South Asian migrants were found to be at a greater risk of these diseases as compared to other ethnic groups. The study was carried out by Dr Anoop Mishra from department of diabetes and metabolic diseases, Fortis Hospital and Dr O P Ganda, Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston, Massachusetts.


"In view of the global increase in migration we felt it essential to undertake such a research. The results were startling where the prevalence of diabetes and obesity multiplied in those who migrated from rural to urban India and further from India to western countries like US. Migration can certainly be called a risk factor in developing of diseases like type 2 diabetes and obesity," stresses Dr Mishra.

The study was based on data collected from various research institutes, personal interviews with scientists and doctors working in the field and personal data of doctors. The research showed that prevalence of diabetes, for instance, was 8.4% for the rural area of Gandhigram in Tamil Nadu, which increased to 13.6% in Delhi and finally to 17.4% in the Indian population in six cities reviewed in US.

For pre-diabetes, the figures were 12.5% for Gandhigram, 23.4% for Delhi and 32.9% for US. As far as data of obesity is concerned, Delhi beat both Gandhigram and the sample of Indian population in US at 38.6% -- higher than 7.7% of Gandhigram and 22.5% of US.

Adds Dr. Mishra:"Migration leads to a complete change in lifestyle which further leads to a dietary transition with consumption of high calorie-low fiber food and physical inactivity. Besides several psycho-social factors like cultural alienation, low self esteem and loss of support play a huge role in making migration a risk. Stress and cultural transition could also lead to increased consumption of alcohol and smoking."

This is not all. Dr Mishra says that South Asians migrants are more prone to these diseases perhaps due to genetic reasons as well. The research had reviewed Hispanics, Chinese and African-Americans besides south Asians but South Asians were found to be at a greater risk. The paper mentions previous researches, which have proved the same.

Source: Medindia
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