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Diabetes in India worries North America

March 31, 2010 02:23 IST

There is a growing concern amongst the medical community in India that if unchecked, India is likely to have 30 million diabetics by 2015 -- equivalent to diabetics in the rest of the world.

This has raised concerns as some experts believe Indians bring their chronic ailments like diabetes, obesity, hypertension and heart diseases and pass them on to their children while living in North America.

India's concerns were raised at a conference on cardiovascular diseases in Hyderabad. Dr Arun Garg, medical director, laboratory medical department of Fraser Health Authority in Vancouver and co-chair, India Market Advisory Group of the Asia-Pacific Trade, and Dr Arun Chokalingam, professor of public health, Simon Fraser University, returned from the conference on March 19.

Garg downplayed the concern about Indians passing on chronic diseases in North America, saying, "It is hard to say what components of these diseases are genetic and how much is based on lifestyle. But my observation is that it is the lifestyle."

In India, Garg and Chokalingam finalised the experts who would participate in the Canada-India Networking's Cardiovascular Health 2010 conference to be held in Vancouver June 21 to 23.

They include Dr K K Talwar, director, Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, and Dr K Srinath Reddy, chairman, Public Health Foundation of India. Yoga guru Baba Ramdev has also been invited.

As the conference's aim is to create awareness about cardiovascular diseases and allied chronic diseases, it will be more like a fair, Garg said.

"There will be speeches too, but the focus will be on how diseases like hypertension, diabetes and obesity are a huge problem for South Asians as well as the general population. I am hoping that there will be specific recommendations about the projects that can be instituted for chronic diseases, primary care, and admission in emergencies," Garg added.

Ajit Jain in Toronto