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Diabetes risk factors in young Sri Lankans much higher than previously thought
Date:2/14/2012

Scientists at King's College London and the National Diabetes Centre (Sri Lanka) have found evidence of a high number of risk factors for type 2 diabetes among the young urban population in Sri Lanka. The study is the first large-scale investigation into diabetes risk among children and young people in South Asia, and provides further evidence that the region is rapidly becoming a hotspot in the growing international diabetes epidemic.

The study, published in the journal PLoS One, is part of a research programme aiming to develop methods to prevent diabetes in young people in Sri Lanka, as the disease is now having a major public health impact. The scientists suggest that urgent action is now required to raise awareness of diabetes and obesity in developing countries and encourage young people to make lifestyle changes to reduce their risk.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 346 million people worldwide have diabetes, with 80 percent of diabetes deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Recent research has shown that urban populations in South Asia are increasingly at risk from developing type 2 diabetes, which develops largely as a result of excess body weight and physical inactivity. In Sri Lanka, studies have shown that one in five adults has either diabetes or pre-diabetes, but until now no research has been carried out into risk-factors among young people.

The DIABRISK-SL project is an international collaboration between scientists in Sri Lanka, led by Dr Mahen Wijesuriya and the UK, led by Dr Janaka Karalliedde from the Cardiovascular Division at King's College London. The team surveyed 22,507 people aged between 10 and 40 from cities in Sri Lanka to check for various early risk factors for type 2 diabetes such as high body mass index (BMI), raised waist circumference and high levels of physical inactivity. They also checked for family history of the disease.

The survey revealed t
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Contact: Katherine Barnes
katherine.barnes@kcl.ac.uk
44-207-848-3076
King's College London
Source:Eurekalert

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