Saturday, January 13, 2007

India – Diabetes Capital of the World?

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It is estimated that India has about 41 million diabetic patients followed by China with about 40 million. A study by International Diabetes Federation's (IDF) Diabetes Atlas released last year estimates that by the year 2025 the number is expected to go up to 70 million in India and 60 million in China. In the same report they have described the rapid increase in diabetics as follows.
With the forces of globalization and industrialization proceeding at an increasing rate, the prevalence of diabetes is predicted to increase dramatically over the next few decades. The resulting burden of complications and premature mortality will continue to present itself as a major and growing public health problem for most countries.
Diabetes is to certain extent caused by changing life style and eating habits. With the technological advances we are seeing in the last few decades we eat more food and do less physical work.

One example that comes to my mind when I think about change in life style contributing to diabetes happened in my village in Kerala. As I mentioned in many of my earlier posts my village in Kerala was a beautiful one with lot of paddy fields, streams and lot of vegetation. These are all things of the past. Now all paddy fields are filled to construct houses, streams are to pave roads and there is a big medical college now on the hill, which was full of rubber trees.

I know a family in my village – father is now about 75 years, mother about 70 years and their son about 50 years old. Father has diabetes for the last 3 years but son has it for last 8 years while the mother doesn’t have at all.

Let us see the difference in the life style between the father and the son. This was 25 years before. The typical day of the father starts at 4:30am. His wife makes him a black coffee and both of them go and milk the cows. By 6:00am the servant comes and he accompanies him to the rubber field. He comes back by 8:00 am, have bath and will have a heavy breakfast (I have seen him eating 5 dosas). He was working as a clerk in a Government office about 2 kms from his house. He goes by walk to his office. He takes lunch in a lunch box, which has 4 containers (it is called “thookupatram” in Malayalam). Two of those containers will be full of rice and other two will have curries made of fresh coconut oil. He walks back 2 kms from office in the evening. On return he will have tea and snacks. Immediately he goes out and works in the field. He comes back at about 8 pm takes bath, have a heavy dinner and sleeps.

Now let us see his sons life style was at the same time. He was about 25 years old that time. His mother wakes him at 7 am with a glass of Horlicks. He reads the newspaper and by that time his mother would prepare breakfast. I have seen him eating more than what his father used to eat for breakfast (more than 5 dosas). He drinks another glass of milk while having breakfast. He goes to his work place in a TVS Moped. He also carries the same size lunch box as his father. When he returns back from work at 6 pm his mother will give him another glass of milk and snacks. After having snacks he goes out to meet his friends and comes back by 8 pm. He will have a sumptuous dinner along with his parents and sister. Before he goes to bed his mother makes sure that her son has another glass of Horlicks.

The end result of all these food habits – the son in this story was diagnosed with diabetes at the age of 40 while his father was diagnosed with diabetes only at the age of 70. Who is to be blamed for this - Change in life style without change in food habits?

Our ancestors followed certain food habits because they did a lot of physical work and also food with a lot of carbohydrate/fat was just suited for that. They didn’t have any modern means of transportation to travel from one place to another. Now the present day life style has reduced most of our physical work but we are not ready to give up our age-old food habits. The consequences of that - people get diseases like diabetes at a young age.

I would like to conclude this piece with an incident that happened last time when I visited India. One of my roommates father came to my house to visit me. There was a young man accompanying him. My friend’s father was about 65 years old. My mother went and asked him “Can I put sugar in tea?” The reply from my friends’ father was “Nowadays you should ask these questions to young people like those sitting near me”. Incidentally the young man was a diabetic.
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Anonymous Anonymous said...


Assuming you are 30 years old right now and considering that the facts you gave about the fathers lifestyle happened 25 years back (Like you pointed out in the article), we can conclude you were probably 5 years old when you saw those events.

For a 5 year old kid to watch and remember all the events (Inlcuding 5 dosas count the father had in the story) is INCREDIBLE.

January 13, 2007 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

January 13, 2007 5:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People say "out of the box thinking" is a good thing.. But to see how dumb someone can appear because of the "out of the box" thinking, just look at the first comment to this interesting post!!!

- AX

January 13, 2007 6:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Sony,
At times you can leave the stage for others also. Can you have the system of somebody else posting the blog and others, including you, offering the comments. I find that some of your blogs are excellent, But some times you get tired and worn out, and do it for the sake of doing it.
with best wishws

January 14, 2007 1:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Mr or Mrs. AX who is STANDING INSIDE THE BOX - This is a democratic country and everybody has the freedom to express. Although an interesting artcile by Nair, I think there are a lot of unanswered questions in his artcile and I did not say it is wrong.

January 18, 2007 4:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Instead of pointing out that somebody is dumb why dont you look smart by answering the question? By the way its is beyond my understanding how could he remember all those situations like he talked about.

Please feel free to take your own time in your usual style of "Thinking Inside the Box" before answering.

January 18, 2007 5:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am still waiting for the SMART person to enlighten me.

January 18, 2007 11:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

its probably safe now to assume "From Inside and also Outside the Box" that the person who posted the third comment (Make no mistake, it is "AX") is no doubt the SMARTEST of the DUMB lot I have seen. When confronted with the question, seems like he or she has taken the easier route of keeping quiet.

But an Interesting Post nonetheless...

January 19, 2007 6:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to have offended Mr. Anonymous (who I called DUMB) in my first comment.. Truth is not always coated in honey, Mr. Anonymous..

Atleast he finally started looking "inside the box" and realized that the article was interesting and started appreciating the content rather than searching "outside the box" for an answer to the Qn: How can someone remember the number of dosas a poor old man ate 25 years ago??

I am forced to make a minor modification in my original opinion about Mr. Anonymous (I am giving him a promotion).. he is not that DUMB after all.. Atleast he had the sense to accept my suggestion to look "inside the box".

First step towards success is to understand your shortcomings and deciding to work on it!! Good Job, Mr. Anonymous..

-- AX

January 19, 2007 12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Anonymous (the first commentor),

Interestingly, if Mr. Anonymous(the first commentor) had read my comment carefully, he would have noticed that I just said "someone can appear dumb" and never said that he was dumb. But as we all live in democratic countries and I have to honour his rights and liberties to understand my statement the way he wanted (or the way that he thought made more sense).

I do not claim that I am smart, and I do not want to make fun of you for not understanding somethings because I realize that there are million questions which are beyond our human understanding. Some Qns are genuinely difficult - like questions about one's true self, existence of god, creation and evolution, formation of the universe etc. We see and experience all these things happen right before our eyes, but we do not understand fully the whys and hows of most of these things..

There are some other simple but unanswerable Qns as well.. And one of the examples is "How did Brijesh remember so well something - like the old guy eating 5 dosas- that he saw 25 years back, when he was only 5 yrs old..??"

So lets leave that unanswerable Qns aside, and focus on the crux of the blog and on what we know now - The old man's son is diabetic- the son didn't have much exercise and ate more than required during his childhood and probably into his middle age..

And so what is in this blog for us.. Here is what is in it for you and me.. Eventhough the old saying says that one has to learn from mistakes -- We need not have to make mistakes ourselves to undergo learning. We can learn from others mistakes as well and not repeat it ourselves.. Thats what I think is smart and the easiest way to learn things!!!

So.. What more can I say?? I hope I have answered your Question to your satisfaction and to your fullest understanding..

-- AX

January 19, 2007 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Brijesh,

Please note : Comment 10 should have come before comment 9 inorder to maintain the flow of thoughts.. Sorry for the mess up..

But the ideas I have conveyed does not lose their importance irrespective of the order someone chose to read them..

-- AX

January 19, 2007 2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I probably have come across like I offended you. Sorry to you. You are doing a great job. My intention from the first comment was not to escalate this in to an argument regarding something not relates to the actual story. But seems like someone else started it and I was just responding to it. I hope you will understand me.


Like you said “Truth is not always coated in honey”


I am VERY GLAD that I ATLEAST forced you to make a minor modification in YOUR original opinion about ME


You pointed out that the first step towards success is to understand your shortcomings and deciding to work on it!!


You have questioned that IF ONLY I read your comment carefully, I would have noticed that you just said "someone can appear dumb" and never said that I was dumb.

- The same logic applies to you too. If only you read my comment to Brijesh, I only said it was pretty Incredible of Brijesh. I AM NOT SURE WHERE I EVEN OFFENDED HIM OR FOR THAT MATTER “YOU”. THE POINT IS LIKE YOU SAID “READ CAREFULLY”

This is what you wrote in your post “Eventhough the old saying says that one has to learn from mistakes -- We need not have to make mistakes ourselves to undergo learning. We can learn from others mistakes as well and not repeat it ourselves.. Thats what I think is smart and the easiest way to learn things”



Lastly, “YOU SCRATCH MY BACK AND I WILL NOT FORGET TO SCRACTH YOURS” Now I guess this applies to all countries Democratic or not!!

January 20, 2007 12:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all, I don't know you, inorder to scratch your back. And Don't worry that you offended Brijesh, I believe I know him enough to assume he is just standing back and enjoying our conversation. :). So, just relax.. These are the only ways the hits to his blog keeps on rising!!! :). So don't take things too personally,OK.. And just let it go!!! :).

But, its quite funny to see how people get so worked up and raise their blood pressure and lose their calm on rather trivial issues. Over these years among the many things I have learned (from mistakes of mine and others) is that anger blinds our senses and we spit out words and do things which cannot be recalled and which might upset for ever, the delicate balance which maintains the harmony of the environment we live in.

So whenever someone says something to me, all I do is stand back and ask myself this simple YES or NO Qn: Is what that guys thinks/says going to affect me in anyway (in other words: Should I give a rat's ass to what this guy is saying??) Most of the time the answer will be a NO.. And if the answer is an YES, then the person who made the comment is very familiar (and also important) to you either as a FRIEND or a FOE.. As I do not have a FRIEND or a FOE who I have to addess as "Mr. Anonymous-the first commentor", I think you understand what I would do with your comments.. Those are among the multitude of things that can pass by me without being noticed.. :).. :D.. You could do just that with my comments as well.. :).. :D..

I believe this is a good point in time to stop the "heated exchange [:)]" between Mr. Anonymous-the first commentor, and me (AX). Have some important things that require my immediate attention..

Eventhough the universe is expanding (have heard people talk about the "red shift" in doppler measurements), the world around us is shrinking (have heard people talk about the "global village").. So we will meet again.. :).. Until then chill out, OK!!

-- AX

January 20, 2007 3:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I definitely see whose blood pressure is rising. The person who is standing back and observing is giving lectures. Great. Think before you write Dude. You cannot get any more funny. Asking me to chill out. Thanks again. And like you yourself said....Give it a RAT ASS. Cause that what you have.....In your words..... Follow your own advice....CHILL OUT

January 20, 2007 3:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What ever makes you happy, man!! Good that you are very recepetive to suggestions. !! :).. :D..

January 20, 2007 4:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The capital letters in your comments are very evident of our state of mind!!! But once again, remember.. Just chill out.. :). :D..

-- AX

January 20, 2007 5:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The capital letters in your comments are very evident of your state of mind!!! But once again, remember.. Just chill out.. :). :D..

-- AX

January 20, 2007 5:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alright then, Mr.Anonymous-the first commentor.. Its a friday night.. So, have fun!!!, Njoy!!! :).. :P.. :D..

-- AX

January 20, 2007 5:26 AM  
Blogger stayingpositive said...

Finally , a non controversial post ! Agree in toto.

PS : Pinne ende blog okke maatti ketto. Can you pls change the link to my blog? It is now
Todangi varunne ullu.


January 20, 2007 12:30 PM  
Blogger Sachin R K said...

Wow !!! The comments section bears the look of a marketplace after a Mammootty MohanLal adi :)

I have been scared stiff at the prospect of diabetes ever since someone mentioned that both my grandfathers had it :(


January 20, 2007 5:14 PM  

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