Lifestyle triggers major shift in disease burden across India

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The study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research, Public Heath Foundation of India and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation is the first comprehensive analysis of the health of India's 1.34 billion citizens.

There were wide variations between the states.

According to the report, child and maternal malnutrition contribute to disease burden mainly through increasing the risk of neonatal disorders, nutritional deficiencies, diarrhoeal diseases, lower respiratory infections, and other common infections. "Conversely, the proportion of total DALYs due to dietary risks, high systolic blood pressure, high fasting plasma glucose, high cholesterol, and high body-mass index were highest in the high ETL state group", the report said.

Disease burden due to child and maternal malnutrition in India was 12 times higher per person than in China in 2016 even as the life expectancy at birth in the country improved by over a decade, said a report on Tuesday. "A comparison of the health parameters between 1990 and 2016 as depicted in the India Disease Burden report â€" demonstrates how the situation has changed on the ground.

The report was on Tuesday launched by Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, who called for the immediate tackling of high disease burden caused by malnutrition.

The burden due to household air pollution is highest in the Empowered Action Group states - that receive special development attention from the government - where its improvement since 1990 has also been the slowest. These diseases include cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, mental health and neurological disorders, cancers, musculoskeletal disorders, and chronic kidney disease. Through an elaborate process all available data sources to estimate disease burden in every state and union territory of India were identified and accessed.

The burden from 333 disease conditions and injuries and 84 risk factors were computed for each state of India as part of the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016.

"The per person burden from numerous leading infectious and non-communicable diseases varies 5-10 times between different States and malnutrition continues to be the single largest risk for health loss in India, which is higher among females and is particularly severe in the empowered action group States and Assam", noted the report.

The extent of the crisis becomes clear when the Disability Adjusted Life Years, or DALY rate-disease burden expressed as the number of years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death-is taken into consideration. The findings show that the overall disease burden per person in some states of India is nearly twice as much as in some other states, and the burden rate due to the leading diseases ranges five to ten times between the states. Road injuries and suicides are the leading contributors to the injury burden in India.

Air pollution is proving to be another significant threat, especially household air pollution, which was responsible for 5% of the total disease burden in India in 2016, and outdoor air pollution for 6%. The disease burden due to unsafe water and sanitation has also reduced significantly in India, but this burden is still 40 times higher per person in India than in China.

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