New Delhi: If you are
under the impression that diabetes is an old man's disease, you
are wrong. More and more children are falling prey to this
lifestyle disease and doctors say it is best to screen children
The theme of this year's World Diabetes Day, being observed
Wednesday, is: "Protect Our Future".
"There has been an increase in the number of patients coming to
clinics for diabetes screening in the last decade. The number of
young people falling prey to the disease is also increasing," said
I.P.S. Kochar, paediatric and adolescent endocrinologist and
diabetologist at Fortis Hospital here.
Type I diabetes, which is not lifestyle-induced, is more common
among children. Doctors say the issue of concern, however, is the
rising cases of Type II diabetes, which occurs due to lifestyle
"Type I diabetes is when the pancreas doesn't create insulin, and
that is what mostly affects children. But these days, we are also
seeing Type II diabetes, which is when insulin is secreted but
fails to work. This type is lifestyle-induced," Jean Claude Mbanya,
president of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), told
According to IDF, there are over 61 million patients of diabetes
The Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) says there are
about a million children with Type I diabetes in India.
Mbanya blamed sedentary lifestyle for it.
"Our children are becoming obese. The prevalence of diabetes is on
the increase because of increasing weight and lack of activity,"
Wondering how children could be encouraged to be more active, the
IDF president said: "Where are the playgrounds? How do we motivate
our children to lead a healthy lifestyle?"
Kochar said there was an average increase of one to four percent
in the incidence of Type I diabetes and four to six percent in the
case of Type II diabetes over the past decade.
Listing symptoms, Kochar said: "If the child is drinking too much
water, urinating more frequently than he used to, has gained
weight, or feels hungry more frequently, it is a warning sign."
Archana Dayal Arya, consultant endocrinologist and diabetologist
at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital recommends regular screening after the
age of ten.
"Parents need to watch that children are not overweight. After the
age of 10, regular screening should be done, especially if
symptoms are noticed," she said.
According to A.K. Jhingan, chairperson of the Delhi Diabetes
Research Centre, the disease is more common among children in
metros than in rural areas.
"Children in urban centres, specially in a metropolis like Delhi,
are more prone to diabetes, as the lifestyle is flawed and
physical activity sometimes nil," he said.
(Anjali Ojha can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)