Role of lifestyle factors in the epidemic of diabetes: lessons learnt from India

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The prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) is increasing steadily globally with the largest increases occurring in developing countries like India. This is attributed to the changes in the lifestyle factors, including physical inactivity and unhealthy diet, both of which are modifiable. Existing evidence suggests that increasing physical activity reduces the risk of T2D. Improving the built environment can make it more conducive to people to increase physical activity. There is also a rapid nutrition transition with consumption of diets with higher intake of refined grains, higher fat, increased consumption of sugar and sweetened beverages, and lower intake of fruits and vegetables. A multisectoral approach promoting healthier diets and increasing physical activity can help in slowing down the diabetic epidemic. However, this requires political will to make necessary policy changes, as well as empowerment of the community, if the preventive measures are to be sustainable and scalable.

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