Fewer Indians are having health loss from ailments associated with childhood under nutrition and unsafe water sources, but more Indians are having health loss from diseases attributable to high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol according to a new analysis of 79 risk factors in 188 countries.
"Global, regional, and national comparative risk assessment of 79 behavioral, environmental and occupational, and metabolic risks or clusters of risks in 188 countries 1990-2013: a systematic analysis for the GBD 2013" examines the extent, pattern, and trends of risk factors' contributions to death and health loss across countries.
Published in The Lancet on September 11, 2015, the study was conducted by an international consortium of researchers working on the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, including from the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), and led by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington.
The study examines which risk factors contribute to health loss as well as death. Researchers used DALYs, or disability-adjusted life years, to measure overall health loss. One DALY equals one lost year of healthy life. DALYs are measured as the sum of years of life lost due to early death and years of healthy life lost due to disability.
"It is remarkable that the contribution of metabolic risk factors such as high blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol, and that of poor diet and alcohol use, to health loss has doubled in India over the past quarter of a century," said study co-author Dr Lalit Dandona who is Professor at PHFI and IHME and who led the work of this study in India.