Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

India’s Rising Burden of Diabetes: Urgent Actions Needed


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Diabetes

Mains level: Rising burden of NCDs in India


Central Idea: A recent study by ICMR has raised concerns about the emerging crisis of diabetes in India and the urgent need for effective strategies to tackle this escalating issue.

What is Diabetes?

Type 1 Diabetes Type 2 Diabetes
Prevalence Generally diagnosed in children and young adults Usually diagnosed in adults, but can occur at any age
Autoimmune Autoimmune condition, immune system attacks pancreas Not autoimmune, insulin resistance or impaired insulin production
Insulin Dependence Requires insulin injections or insulin pump May be managed with lifestyle changes, oral medication, or insulin
Onset Sudden onset Gradual onset
Causes Genetic predisposition and environmental factors Genetic and lifestyle factors, including obesity
Body Weight Often normal or underweight Often overweight or obese
Insulin Production Little to no insulin production Insulin resistance or inadequate insulin production
Treatment Insulin therapy, blood sugar monitoring Lifestyle changes, oral medication, insulin therapy if needed
Complications Higher risk of diabetic ketoacidosis Higher risk of heart disease, stroke, and other complications
Lifestyle Factors Cannot be prevented or reversed Can be prevented or managed through lifestyle changes
Prevention No known prevention strategies Focus on healthy lifestyle, weight management


Burden of Diabetes in India

  • The results of the largest long-term study on metabolic factors in the Indian subcontinent, known as the ICMR-InDiab study, were recently published in The Lancet.
  • This study, conducted between 2008 and 2020, aimed to estimate India’s burden of chronic non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Key Findings

The study revealed alarming statistics regarding diabetes in India:

  1. Approximately 11% of the population has diabetes.
  2. Another 15.3% of the population is in the pre-diabetic stage.
  3. This translates to an estimated 101.3 million diabetics and 136 million individuals in the pre-diabetic stage.
  4. Urban areas have a higher prevalence (16.4%) compared to rural areas (8.9%).

These numbers underscore the need for immediate attention to prevent the further rise of diabetes and manage its complications effectively.

Reasons for India’s Rising Burden

India’s escalating burden of diabetes can be attributed to several factors:

  • Genetic Predisposition: Indians have a higher genetic susceptibility to diabetes.
  • Changing Lifestyles: Urbanization, sedentary habits, and unhealthy dietary patterns contribute to increased obesity and diabetes risk.
  • Obesity Epidemic: Rising obesity rates in India are a major risk factor for diabetes.
  • Socioeconomic Factors: Limited access to healthcare, lack of awareness, and resource constraints hinder diabetes management.
  • Urban-Rural Divide: Diabetes is no longer limited to urban areas, as rural regions also experience a growing prevalence.
  • Delayed Diagnosis and Treatment: Late diagnosis and treatment initiation impede effective disease management.

Addressing India’s Rising Burden of Diabetes

To combat this crisis, key interventions include:

  • Prevention and Health Promotion: Encouraging healthy lifestyles and stress reduction.
  • Early Detection and Diagnosis: Promoting awareness and implementing screening programs.
  • Access to Quality Healthcare: Improving healthcare infrastructure and ensuring equitable access.
  • Education and Awareness: Public health campaigns to raise awareness and encourage lifestyle modifications.
  • Policy Interventions: Implementing policies for healthy environments and regulating unhealthy products.


  • India is facing a significant health crisis with the rising burden of diabetes.
  • It is imperative to prioritize diabetes prevention and management to ensure a healthier future for the nation.

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch