In India, wealth linked to increased obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure risk

India faces a dual burden of disease—rising rates of chronic diseases alongside continued struggles with malnutrition and infectious diseases.

According to a new study co-authored by S V Subramanian, professor of population health and geography at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the country’s cardiovascular disease risk (CVD) burden is highest among high socioeconomic status (SES) populations (those with high household wealth, more education, and higher caste), who have the highest rates of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. However, the authors noted that mortality is lower among these populations compared to poorer people, suggesting that they have better access to health care.

The authors wrote, “As the burden of CVD and risk factors increase, health systems need to develop appropriate mechanisms to ensure access to detection, treatment, and control of CVD and risk factors across SES groups.”

The study was published April 5, 2019 in JAMA Network Open.

Read coverage in Cosmos: India’s dual battle with diseases of affluence and poverty

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