Rural to urban migration associated with increased obesity and diabetes risk in India

April 27, 2010

Migration from rural to urban areas is associated with increasing levels of obesity and is a factor driving the diabetes epidemic in India, according to a new study published this week in PLoS Medicine.

India, like the rest of the world, is experiencing a diabetes epidemic. Diabetes has increased in urban areas of India from 5% to 15% between 1984 and 2004. As in other developing countries this is thought to result from increased consumption of saturated fats and sugar and reduced levels of . The process of - migration from rural areas to towns and cities and the expansion of urban areas into the periphery - is linked to changes in diet and behaviour. To examine how migration has impacted on obesity and diabetes in India, Shah Ebrahim and colleagues interviewed rural migrants working in urban factories.

The researchers recruited rural-urban migrants working in four factories in central, north and south India and the spouses of these workers if they were living in the same town. Each migrant worker or spouse asked a sibling still living in the rural area that they were originally from to join the study. Non-migrant factory workers and their siblings from urban areas were also recruited. Each participant answered questions about their diet and physical activity and had their blood sugar and measured.

The results showed similar levels of obesity in urban and migrant men (41.9% and 37.8% respectively), in comparison with 19% of men in . Diabetes also stood at similar levels in urban and migrant men (13.5% in urban and 14.3% respectively), in comparison with 6.2% in rural men. These patterns of obesity and diabetes were similar in women.

The findings demonstrate that rural-urban migration in India is associated with rapid increases in obesity and diabetes and also indicated that changes in migrant behaviour - such as reduced physical activity - put them at similar risk to the urban population. The authors conclude that health promotional activities targeting migrants and their families would help reduce the risk factors for and diabetes and slow the progress of the epidemic.

More information: Ebrahim S, Kinra S, Bowen L, Andersen E, Ben-Shlomo Y, et al. (2010) The Effect of Rural-to-Urban Migration on Obesity and Diabetes in India: A Cross-Sectional Study. PLoS Med 7(4): e1000268. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000268

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Amber-tinted glasses may provide relief for insomnia

December 15, 2017
How do you unwind before bedtime? If your answer involves Facebook and Netflix, you are actively reducing your chance of a good night's sleep. And you are not alone: 90 percent of Americans use light-emitting electronic devices, ...

Warning labels can help reduce soda consumption and obesity, new study suggests

December 15, 2017
Labels that warn people about the risks of drinking soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages can lower obesity and overweight prevalence, suggests a new Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health study.

Office work can be a pain in the neck

December 15, 2017
Neck pain is a common condition among office workers, but regular workplace exercises can prevent and reduce it, a University of Queensland study has found.

Regular takeaways linked to kids' heart disease and diabetes risk factors

December 14, 2017
Kids who regularly eat take-away meals may be boosting their risk factors for heart disease and diabetes, suggests research published online in the Archives of Disease in Childhood.

Simulation model finds Cure Violence program and targeted policing curb urban violence

December 14, 2017
When communities and police work together to deter urban violence, they can achieve better outcomes with fewer resources than when each works in isolation, a simulation model created by researchers at the UC Davis Violence ...

Your pets can't put your aging on 'paws'

December 14, 2017
(HealthDay)—In a finding that's sure to ruffle some fur and feathers, scientists report that having a pet doesn't fend off age-related declines in physical or mental health.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.