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BMC Public Health. 2012; 12: 380.
Published online May 25, 2012. doi:  10.1186/1471-2458-12-380
PMCID: PMC3447674
Prevalence and trends of the diabetes epidemic in South Asia: a systematic review and meta-analysis
Ranil Jayawardena,corresponding author1,2 Priyanga Ranasinghe,2,3 Nuala M Byrne,1 Mario J Soares,4 Prasad Katulanda,2 and Andrew P Hills5
1Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
2Diabetes Research Unit, Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka
3Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka
4Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute, School of Public Health, Curtin University, Perth, Australia
5Mater Mother’s Hospital, Mater Medical Research Institute and Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
corresponding authorCorresponding author.
Ranil Jayawardena: ranil7/at/; Priyanga Ranasinghe: priyanga.ranasinghe/at/; Nuala M Byrne: n.byrne/at/; Mario J Soares: m.soares/at/; Prasad Katulanda: pkatulanda/at/; Andrew P Hills: ahills/at/
Received January 8, 2012; Accepted May 7, 2012.
Diabetes mellitus has reached epidemic proportions worldwide. South Asians are known to have an increased predisposition for diabetes which has become an important health concern in the region. We discuss the prevalence of pre-diabetes and diabetes in South Asia and explore the differential risk factors reported.
Prevalence data were obtained by searching the Medline® database with; ‘prediabetes’ and ‘diabetes mellitus’ (MeSH major topic) and ‘Epidemology/EP’ (MeSH subheading). Search limits were articles in English, between 01/01/1980–31/12/2011, on human adults (≥19 years). The conjunction of the above results was narrowed down with country names.
The most recent reported prevalence of pre-diabetes:diabetes in regional countries were; Bangladesh–4.7%:8.5% (2004–2005;Rural), India–4.6%:12.5% (2007;Rural); Maldives–3.0%:3.7% (2004;National), Nepal–19.5%:9.5% (2007;Urban), Pakistan–3.0%:7.2% (2002;Rural), Sri Lanka–11.5%:10.3% (2005–2006;National). Urban populations demonstrated a higher prevalence of diabetes. An increasing trend in prevalence of diabetes was observed in urban/rural India and rural Sri Lanka. The diabetes epidemicity index decreased with the increasing prevalence of diabetes in respective countries. A high epidemicity index was seen in Sri Lanka (2005/2006–52.8%), while for other countries, the epidemicity index was comparatively low (rural India 2007–26.9%; urban India 2002/2005–31.3%, and urban Bangladesh–33.1%). Family history, urban residency, age, higher BMI, sedentary lifestyle, hypertension and waist-hip ratio were associated with an increased risks of diabetes.
A significant epidemic of diabetes is present in the South Asian region with a rapid increase in prevalence over the last two decades. Hence there is a need for urgent preventive and curative strategies .
Keywords: Diabetes Mellitus, South Asia, Epidemiology, Prevalence, Trends, Risk factors
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