Background & objectives: Kerala State is a harbinger of what will happen in future to the rest of India in chronic non-communicable diseases (NCD). We assessed: (i) the burden of NCD risk factors; (ii) estimated the relations of behavioural risk factors to socio-demographic correlates, anthropometric risk factors with behavioural risk factors; (iii) evaluated if socio-demographic, behavioural and anthropometric risk factors predicted biochemical risk factors; and (iv) estimated awareness, treatment and adequacy of control of hypertension and diabetes, in Kerala state.
Methods: A total of 7449 individuals (51% women) stratified by age group, sex and place of residence were selected and information on behavioural risk factors; tobacco use, diet, physical activity, alcohol use, measured anthropometry, blood pressure was collected. Fasting blood samples were analysed for blood glucose, total cholesterol, high density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides in a sample subset.Using multiple logistic regression models the associations between socio-demographic and anthropometric variables with biochemical risk factors were estimated.
Results: The burden of NCD risk factors was high in our sample. Prevalence of behavioural and each of the biochemical risk factors increased with age, adjusting for other factors including sex and the place of residence. The odds ratios relating anthropometric variables to biochemical variables were modest, suggesting that anthropometric variables may not be useful surrogates for biochemical risk factors for population screening purposes.
Interpretation & conclusions: In this large study of community-based sample in Kerala, high burden of NCD risk factors was observed, comparable to that in the United States. These data may serve to propel multisectoral efforts to lower the community burden of NCD risk factors in India in general, and in Kerala, in particular.