Go Adv Search
Diabetes rising sharply in China, study says

Diabetes rising sharply in China, study says

Updated: 2012-04-06 07:08

(China Daily)

  Comments() Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

The more common type of diabetes, type 2 diabetes, is rising sharply in China, and has increased by 30 percent in just seven years, according to a survey of thousands of Shanghai residents.

Diabetes rising sharply in China, study says

Doctors from Indonesian medical institutions visit a Shanghai hospital in June 2010 to discuss technical issues, including surgical intervention for type 2 diabetes and traditional Chinese acupuncture. Provided to China Daily 

The study, published in the journal Diabetes Care, shows that the curse of affluence appears to be affecting China as it has many other developing countries - and it has come on quite rapidly, researchers said. "Unlike the gradual transition in most Western countries, these changes in China have occurred over a very short time," wrote lead researcher Li Rui, at the Shanghai Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

People with type 2 diabetes have trouble processing sugar in their blood, but do not generally require insulin to manage the condition. As countries become more wealthy, lifestyle factors associated with type 2 diabetes - such as weight gain, less healthy diets and less physical activity - tend to become more common.

The research team interviewed more than 12,000 people in 2002 and 2003, asking whether they had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. They also screened people for diabetes who had not been diagnosed before.

At that time, they found that 9.7 percent of people had diabetes.

In 2009, they surveyed about 7,400 people again and found that 12.6 percent had the disease.

The spike was even more dramatic among rural residents in the study, going from 6.1 percent to 9.8 percent, a 60 percent increase.

"That's a remarkable increase in seven years," said Jeffrey Koplan, vice-president for global health at Emory University in the United States, commenting on the study, in which he did not take part.

The overall prevalence of diabetes was higher among men and in urban residents in both surveys, but the increase was more noted among rural residents, the authors wrote.

The study did not pinpoint the causes of the rise in diabetes, and Koplan said he could only speculate on what's to blame, though it has been well documented that people are getting wealthier and heavier in China. In addition, diets are including more unsaturated fat.

He added that people are also becoming more dependent on cars and less inclined to walk or ride a bike.

"All these factors would help contribute to having an increased prevalence in type 2 diabetes," Koplan said.

The authors wrote in their study that an aging population in China likely explains some of their findings. Older people are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, and the researchers noted that 20 percent of Shanghai residents are over 60, with that proportion increasing.

Koplan said that many countries have programs to promote healthy lifestyles and prevent type 2 diabetes, but as of yet there's "not a proven, documented intervention that can reverse this epidemic of obesity and epidemic of type 2 diabetes".