Although the South-East Asia Region comprises only seven countries, it is one of the most populous regions in the world. The adult population of India alone accounts for 86% of the region’s total population of 856 million in 2011. There is a wide gap in per capita GDP, with Mauritius having the highest at USD 14,100, while Nepal has the lowest at less than USD 1,300. Furthermore, India is experiencing an economic growth rate second only to China. 1
Close to one-fifth of all adults with diabetes in the world live in the South-East Asia Region. Current estimates indicate that 8.3% of the adult population, or 71.4 million people, have diabetes in 2011, 61.3 million of whom are in India. The number of people with diabetes in the region will increase to 120.9 million by 2030, or 10.2% of the adult population. A further 23.8 million people have impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) in 2011, and this will increase to 38.6 million by 2030. Mauritius has the highest prevalence of diabetes among adults for the region at 15.1%, with Bangladesh next at 10.6%. The number of people with diabetes in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka make up 99% of the total for the region.
The estimated increase in regional diabetes prevalence to 10.2% in 2030 is a consequence of increasing life expectancy in India (the proportion of the population over 50 years is expected to increase from 16% to 23% from 2011 to 2030), and of rapid urbanisation.
The South-East Asia Region has one of the highest estimates of prevalence of type 1 diabetes in children, with 111,500 affected. In 2011, an estimated 18,000 children under the age of 15 in the region developed type 1 diabetes.
India accounts for most of the children with type 1 diabetes in the region. The incidence rate for type 1 diabetes in India was frequently used in extrapolation for other countries in the region and therefore plays a pivotal role in the estimates. The large childhood population in India and the widespread use of the Indian data for extrapolation have important consequences not only for the regional total but also for the worldwide estimates. This region contributes more than any other to the worldwide total.
The region has the second highest number of deaths attributable to diabetes of any of the seven IDF regions with 1.16 million deaths in 2011. This represents 14.5% of all deaths for the region among adults. More than half (55%) of these deaths occur in people under the age of 60 and almost a third (27%) under the age of 50. India is the largest contributor to regional mortality with 983,000 deaths attributable to diabetes.
In spite of the large number of people with diabetes in the South-East Asia Region, healthcare expenditures due to diabetes are estimated to be only USD 4.5 billion in 2011, accounting for less than 1% of the global total. Most of the estimated spending is expected to occur in India.
Six out of the seven countries in the region had data sources that were used to generate estimates for diabetes in adults. A total of 11 sources were used for the diabetes estimates in adults. However, estimates for type 1 diabetes in youth are largely based on data from India.
1: Central Intelligance Agency. The World Factbook. 2008. https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/  [Accessed 2011-08-23].