'Alarming increase' in juvenile diabetes:Doctors

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Kochi, Nov 12 (UNI) Noting that there is an ''alarming increase'' in the incidence of juvenile diabetes in the country, health experts have stressed the need to wean urban children off a lifestyle dominated by junk food and television.

Addressing a press conference here yesterday, Dr Harish Kumar, Head of Department, Endocrinology, and Dr A G Unnikrishnan, Associate Professor, Endocrinology, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS), said a three-year study, covering 600 children in six hospitals in various parts of the country, had revealed that there was a nine per cent incidence of Type 1 diabetes and eight per cent incidence of Type 2 diabetes.

Describing the emergence of 'Type 2' diabetes in children as a ''very worrisome trend,'' Dr Unnikrishnan said this was directly linked to lifestyle trends among children such as eating high-calorie junk food and a sedentary living.

''An onset of diabetes before the age of 25 means several serious complications related to kidneys, eyes, skin and heart in the prime of one's life. Some of these patients may not even live beyond 40 or 50 years,'' Dr Harish Kumar said.

Describing diabetes as a lifestyle disease, Dr Harish Kumar said studies had shown that the incidence of diabetes in cities was around 18 per cent as against only two to three per cent in rural areas.

To highlight these and other diabetes-related issues, the Amrita Institute will hold a three-day academic and cultural programme from today, which will consist of diabetes awareness programmes, exihibitions, cultural meets and competitions for students.

On November 14, Kerala Governor R L Bhatia would inaugurate a cultural meeting at AIMS and also launch the 'Amrita Diabetic Helpline.' This helpline would be functional between 0830 and 1730 hrs to address questions and doubts from the general public regarding diabetes.

The Governor will also release three books, including a Diabetic Recipe Book focusing on Kerala cuisine, Dr Harish Kumar said.


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