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February 2018

 

High rates of diabetes, hypertension found in India

Rates of diabetes and hypertension are high among middle-aged and elderly people across all geographic measures and sociodemographic groups in India, according to the first nationally representative study of those conditions in the country. The study, led by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, also found unexpectedly high rates of hypertension among young adults.

The researchers wanted to find out how the prevalence of diabetes and hypertension in India varied by state, rural vs. urban location, and by sociodemographic characteristics such as education and household wealth. They used health data collected from 1,320,555 adults across India between 2012 and 2014, which included plasma glucose and blood pressure measurements.

"India has a window of opportunity to invest in its health system to effectively tackle hypertension and diabetes--both major killers. The potential for harnessing new technologies to reach the millions affected by these diseases and reverse the course of these epidemics is real. However, because the epidemics are worsening rapidly, now is the time for urgent action," said Rifat Atun, co-senior author and professor of global health systems in the Department of Global Health and Population.

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