The World Health Organisation (WHO) is examining data that may put China ahead of India to becoming the `Diabetes Capital of the World,’with an estimated 30 million diabetics, said Gojka Roglic, Technical Officer, Department of Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion.
While WHO’s year 2000 country-specific estimate for China pegged the number at 20 million, delegates from the Chinese Ministry of Health objected to the figure. They claimed that the estimate used data from a study done 10 years ago, and that the prevalence of diabetes had since increased.
However, experts clarified that even though prevalence in China has gone up, it had not reached Indian proportions. Sheer numbers in China have put the country ahead of India. It is not surprising that prevalence of diabetes has increased in China.
Discussing on the Indian debate about the validity of estimates, WHO advised caution in interpreting data. For example, India until recently had practically no data on diabetes for rural areas. All studies focused on urban centers, though a greater proportion of India lives in rural areas.
However, WHO acknowledged that governments across the world have started responding positively, for e.g. India initiated to develop a national programme for non-communicable diseases (NCDs). WHO also believed that an integrated programme would work as most NCDs, including diabetes, cardiac disease and some cancers, shared risk factors and methods of treatment.