Temporal changes in prevalence of diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance associated with lifestyle transition occurring in the rural population in India

Diabetologia. 2004 May;47(5):860-5. doi: 10.1007/s00125-004-1387-6. Epub 2004 Apr 28.


Aims/hypothesis: The rural Indian population is undergoing lifestyle transition due to socio-economic growth. This study was done to determine the temporal changes in prevalence of diabetes and IGT that could have occurred in a rural population in India as a result of the lifestyle transition.

Methods: A cross-sectional study of 1213 Asian-Indian subjects aged 20 years or over was done to look for the prevalence of diabetes and IGT using the 1999 WHO criteria. The temporal changes were assessed in comparison with a similar study conducted 14 years previously. The factors associated with the temporal changes were also analysed.

Results: Nearly a three-fold increase in age- and sex-adjusted prevalence of diabetes (from 2.20% to 6.36%) was seen in 2003 when compared with a similar study done 14 years before. Prevalence of IGT did not change significantly (7.44% in 1989 vs 7.18% in 2003). Improvement in living conditions had occurred during the period, occupational changes were seen, the number of manual labourers had decreased and economic conditions had improved. BMI and waist circumference had increased. After correcting for age, sex and differences in time periods, waist circumference and physical inactivity showed significant associations with the increased prevalence of diabetes.

Conclusions/interpretation: Demographic transition due to improved living conditions in rural India was associated with a three-fold increase in the prevalence of diabetes. Increased upper body adiposity and physical inactivity showed significant association with this phenomenon.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology
  • Adult
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Glucose Intolerance / epidemiology*
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Rural Population