New Delhi: Development without any focus on health is the reason for the increasing burden of lifestyle diseases like diabetes, International Diabetes Federation President Jean Claude Mbanya said.In an interview to news agency ahead of World Diabetes Day, which falls Nov 14, Mbanya said developing countries like India were bearing a heavier burden of diabetes and other lifestyle diseases, and that radical steps were needed to deal with the situation."Earlier, it was thought that diabetes and other lifestyle diseases afflicted the rich, but that has been proven wrong. It is a disease of the poor now, as developing countries are bearing a higher burden of these diseases," Mbanya said."Because of rampant poverty, people struggle to earn. That becomes the main concern, and people don`t think of exercising," he said.Mbanya, who comes from the west central African nation of Cameroon, said the underlying problem is that economic development models are not "health conscious"."As we are developing (nations), we focus is on economic development. We have had economic development, but the problem is we have not had health-conscious economic development," said the IDF chief.The International Diabetes Federation is an umbrella organisation of over 200 national diabetes associations in over 160 countries.It represents the interests of the growing number of people with diabetes and those at risk, and has been leading the global diabetes community since 1950.The IDF chief said India presently has around 61.3 million diabetes patients.He, however, added that the figure did not represent the real numbers of those who lived with the condition, as nearly 60 percent of diabetes patients never get screened and are not diagnosed because of low awareness.Mbanya also said that nearly 44 million more people are borderline diabetes cases, suffering from a condition that could be controlled with exercise and proper diet.
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