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Diabetes is growing alarmingly in India, home to more than 65,1 million people with the disease, compared to 50.8 million in 2010.1 Ominously, obesity is reaching epidemic proportions among India's middle-class children and adolescents, as young people choose Western fast food over traditional cuisine. Doctors in India are fitting gastric bands on children as young as 13.

A recent report confirmed that increasing obesity in South Asians is primarily driven by nutrition, lifestyle and demographic transitions, increasingly faulty diets and physical inactivity, in the background of genetic predisposition.2 Obesity appears to spreading across India in part at least as a result of an invasion of processed Western food. India’s economic boom has been accompanied by a meteoric increase in the number of people with diabetes – and those at risk for the disease. Prevalence rates are up to 20% in some cities, and recent figures showed surprisingly increased rates in rural areas. According to a recent report by Standard and Poor’s rating agency, the fast-food market is worth USD 11.3 billion and this is set to double in three years, largely driven by a surge in growth in the market share in smaller cities across the country.

1. International Diabeted Federation Diabetes Atlas, 6th edition 2013
2. Misra A, Shrivastava U. Obesity and dyslipidemia in South Asians. Nutrients 2013; 5(7): 2708-33.


Capital city (1): 
New Delhi
Population in 1.000.000 (1): 
Urban population (1): 
Rate of urbanization per year (1): 
Life expectancy in years (1): 
GDP per capita (1): 
GDP real growth rate (2012): 
Men aged ≥20 years who are obese (2008) (2): 
Women aged ≥20 years who are obese (2008) (2): 
Diabetes comparative prevalence WHO standard (2011) (3): 
Health expenditure (1): 
Mean diabetes-related expenditure per person with diabetes (3): 
95,00 USD

(1): CIA factbook
(2): WHO 2008
(3): IDF Diabetes Atlas, 5th edition annual update, 2012

Bridges is an International Diabetes Programme supported by an educational grant from Lilly Diabetes