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Diabetes is on the Rise in India: Is Fast Food to Blame?


Today, who is not fond of fast foods? Anywhere you go - you will see lots of big fast food giants with a mesmerizing ambience. As you walk through these giants, your olfactory sensation gets stimulated by the wafting out fumes and smells of the fast food that is being cooked in these giants. You are won’t be able to hold yourself back from entering the giant and ordering some fast food from the mouthwatering cuisine given in the menu card for yourself.

Have you ever thought about whether fast food is totally safe for your health? Are we importing only burgers and fries or are we also getting diabetes in as a complimentary result?

Today, a huge population of India is suffering from the most common disease called type 2 diabetes. Day by day it is increasing at a rapid pace in India. In the last 40 years, the rate of diabetes in the Indian population has increased tremendously. Earlier, the percentage of the diabetes in the urban population was 3% and rural population was 1.2%. Yet, according to a study in 2017 conducted in 15 states of India, 11.2% of urban adult population was reported to have diabetes.

From the Chief Project Officer of Diabetes Foundation, Dr. Seema Gulati stated that the prevalence of type 2 diabetes is higher in Asian Indians in comparison to all ethnic groups. Though all ethnic groups are also not safe and have been affected with diabetes, the rate of diabetes is rapidly increasing among Asian Indians.

Genetics coupled with other factors are the major cause for the rapid increase in the rate of diabetes. Today, Indians are more busy and don't have time due to which they are leading an unhealthy inactive lifestyle i.e unhealthy diet and eating habits. They are not able to perform physical activities or get time for exercise. Unhealthy and inactive lifestyles are one of the biggest cause factors for diabetes.

Earlier, people in India used to perform lots of physical activities and were doing exercises daily. They used to eat a healthy diet. On the other hand, today, Indians have a busy lifestyle. They are now missing proper healthy meals - getting more and more towards the consumption of fast foods.

Dr. Vasanti Malik, research associate at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health stated that diabetes is rapidly spreading both in urban as well as rural areas. She said that young South Asians with low BMI (body mass index) are at a higher risk of contracting diabetes. All in all, fast foods are highly responsible for causing obesity and diabetes.

These fast foods cause obesity - a major factor for causing diabetes and other diseases. They are rich in fats, refined carbohydrates and sugar and have high calorie count. These foods lack fiber, which prevents diabetes.

In India, the fast food joints are a fast growing business with high earning potential. The major brands are opening their fast food giants very rapidly. Last year, 103 new Domino's Pizza outlets were opened at different locations of the country.

Another brand - Yum! Brands Inc - announced to open new 700 Pizza Hut outlets by 2022. They have great marketing strategies to attract customers and are able to attain higher sells.

Dr. Mohan stated that we should not only blame Western fast food because Indian fast food is equally responsible for the cause of diabetes. Indian fast food is also very high in carbohydrates and calorie counts.

Professionals are trying to stress the importance of spreading awareness to Indian people about regular physical activities and lifestyle modification. Proper place should be provided to people where they can perform regular exercises.

In fact, doctors are saying that schools should incorporate teachings about diet and exercises mandatorily. Children should be made aware of the dangerous side effects of fast foods, so that they can restrict themselves from consuming them. This in turn will help them change their dietary habits and follow a healthier diet.

Rules should be made about banning advertisements of fast foods targeting minors. Some studies also suggest that zoning laws should be implemented by the government banning fast food joints at places nearby schools to restrict children consuming them rapidly.

It is expected that with the increase in population the prevalence of diabetes will increase. Yet, we should try our best to practice these countermeasures to prevent dangers like diabetes - keeping yourself as healthy as possible! 

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