Diabetes – A National Economic Burden!

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), every year at least 2.8 million people die due to being an overweight or obese. 35.8 million People of global Disability-Adjusted Life Year (DALYs) are caused due to them being overweight or obese.

For a very long time it was believed that overweight and obesity exists only in the western part of the world where the “fast food culture” is immense. But today, the scenario has completely changed and gone are the days when India relied only on homely food. Today, since the lifestyle of people has changed and has become immensely fast; people have started resorting to fast food and other unhealthy food habits.

Another report by WHO states that India will have 80 million diabetic patients by 2030. The study further reports that the increased prosperity in developing countries like India has accompanied with itself a huge increase in calorie intake. However, it has been noticed that the body has not been able to cope with the dietary changes. The bodies have been conditioned to cope with undernourishment. The fat is stored in a manner by which they become more prone to diseases like diabetes and obesity.

India had an estimated number of 40 million diabetics in the year 2013, it is the highest ever in any country. Going by the numbers, it can be certainly said that India will soon face severe economic burden.

Since the lifestyle of the urban areas in the country are much more dynamic, fast, unhygienic and unhealthy, it has been pronounced confidently that the epidemic diabetes has hit the urban are the most, more than the rural area. It has been estimated that 5 to 25% of the average income of an Indian family goes in the treatment for diabetes. It basically translates to USD 2.2 Billion a year! As opposed to the kind of expenditure which is involved in the treatment of diabetes, the per capita expenditure on health care in India is a meager 6.4% of average spending around the world. The separate diabetes healthcare cost is estimated to be a staggering of at least USD 153 billion each year for only the people who are in between the ages of 20 to 79.


The expenditures made on diabetes care are not properly distributed as per the different age and gender groups. More than three quarters of world expenditure in 2010 was used for people who are in the age group of 50 to 80 years. It is expected that more money will be directed towards diabetes care for women than men.

The intensity of the economic burden depends on the economic status and also the number of insurance policies of the country a family lives in. Surprisingly, in larger countries the situation is worse since the family with an individual having diabetes has more expenditure because of the poor system of medical care and insurance. Also the provisions provided by the government are poor. In India specifically, the poorest of people spend 25% of their income for diabetes care.

Diabetes and Obesity also leads to a decline in productivity and growth of economy. Due to health issues the worker loses earnings of work days which results in lesser activity days and less of production done, this leads to permanent disability in most of the cases. These types of losses are much larger in poorer countries and less in India because premature deaths happen at a very young age. Loss of lives also causes a lot of economic burden since there is a monetary value attached to it.

It is highly suggested to always be cautious and if you get any sign of diabetes get yourself checked with the doctor immediately. Early detection with any disease or health issue can help in preventing further complications.