India and China will continue to have the largest number of diabetics in the world in the coming years due to rapid lifestyle shifts in these two countries, a leading health expert said.
With around 90 million diabetics, China last year outnumbered India, which has 61.3 million diabetics.
"China and India have the maximum number of diabetics. It is mainly because of their huge population size and rapidly changing lifestyle over the last two decades," said Jeane Claude Mbanya, president of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF).
"The physical activities have reduced. Also, due to huge population size, there is higher probability of acquiring diabetes through certain genes," Mbanya said at a the fifth Asian consensus meeting on metabolic surgery.
The sedentary lifestyle resulting in obesity is linked to diabetes in over 80 percent of cases.
According to the Diabetes Atlas by the IDF, China had overtaken India as the `Diabetes Capital of the World` last year. United States stands third in the list with over 23 million diabetics.
While bariatric surgery is the most suggested treatment mode for obese people, the IDF last year called for the surgery to be considered earlier in the treatment of eligible obese diabetic patients.
"In view of the recent IDF position statement on bariatric surgery, it makes a lot of sense to have all the international leaders to address the Asian audience on the benefits of diabetes resolution in the long term," said Muffazal Lakdawala, founder of the Centre for Obesity and Diabetes Surgery (CODS).
"The idea is to bring forth the current concepts in world wide research in metabolic surgery and to dispel the myths associated with it. Bariatric and metabolic surgery provides modification of the human digestive system," Lakdawala added on the inaugural day of the two-day conference.