Trends in prevalence of diabetes in Asian countries

World J Diabetes. 2012 Jun 15;3(6):110-7. doi: 10.4239/wjd.v3.i6.110.


Diabetes is a major lifestyle disorder, the prevalence of which is increasing globally. Asian countries contribute to more than 60% of the world's diabetic population as the prevalence of diabetes is increasing in these countries. Socio-economic growth and industrialization are rapidly occurring in many of these countries. The urban-rural divide in prevalence is narrowing as urbanization is spreading widely, adversely affecting the lifestyle of populations. Asians have a strong ethnic and genetic predisposition for diabetes and have lower thresholds for the environmental risk factors. As a result, they develop diabetes at a younger age and at a lower body mass index and waist circumference when compared with the Western population. The adverse effect of physical inactivity and fatty food are manifested as the increasing rate of overweightness and obesity, even among children. The health care budgets for the disease management are meager and the health care outcome is far from the optimum. As a result, complications of diabetes are common and the economic burden is very high, especially among the poor strata of the society. National endeavors are urgently needed for early diagnosis, effective management and for primary prevention of diabetes. This editorial aims to highlight the rising trend in prevalence of diabetes in Asia, its causative factors and the urgent need to implement national strategies for primary prevention of type 2 diabetes.

Keywords: Burden of diabetes; Diabetes in Asia; Lifestyle changes; Prevention of diabetes; Type 2 diabetes; Urbanization.