Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research Indan Journal of Medical Research
  Home About us Editorial board Search Ahead of print Current issue Archives Submit article Instructions Subscribe Contacts Login  
  Home Print this page Email this page Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size Users Online: 159       

   Table of Contents      
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 142  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 503-506

World Diabetes Day 2015: Healthy living & diabetes

Department of Medicine & Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism, University College of Medical Sciences & Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Delhi 110 095, India

Date of Web Publication9-Dec-2015

Correspondence Address:
S V Madhu
Department of Medicine & Centre for Diabetes, Endocrinology & Metabolism, University College of Medical Sciences & Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Delhi 110 095
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-5916.171263

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Madhu S V. World Diabetes Day 2015: Healthy living & diabetes. Indian J Med Res 2015;142:503-6

How to cite this URL:
Madhu S V. World Diabetes Day 2015: Healthy living & diabetes. Indian J Med Res [serial online] 2015 [cited 2020 May 27];142:503-6. Available from:

Healthy living refers to adopting a lifestyle that promotes physical and mental fitness and facilitates prevention of lifestyle related diseases. Healthy living is at the core of any effort to prevent or treat diabetes, whether at the individual level or the community level. Essentially, healthy living includes consuming a healthy and balanced diet, being physically active, ensuring adequate sleep, minimizing stress and avoiding smoking, tobacco chewing and alcohol and brushing our teeth regularly.

At a community level, healthy living can effectively reduce the burden of diabetes and its complications. When we consider the huge burden of diabetes in our country today, the focus of all preventive strategies should be on healthy lifestyle interventions. The ICMR-INDIAB National Study reported that 62.4 million people had diabetes in 2011 and 77 million had pre-diabetes [1] , and it is predicted that by 2035 diabetes may afflict up to 109 million persons in India, being rightly referred to as "diabetes capital of the world". Adoption of a combined approach of increasing diabetes awareness, behavioural changes and promotion of healthy lifestyle can blunt this galloping trend.

At the level of the individual, healthy living not only helps prevent diabetes in those at risk but also facilitates good glycaemic control in those who are already diabetic. Abnormal lifestyle contributes to the problem in many patients diagnosed as diabetic and it is essential that advice on healthy living is started in them promptly at the time of diagnosis itself so that they can achieve better glycaemic, blood pressure and lipid targets.

There is enough evidence that lifestyle interventions are effective in the prevention and management of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) [2],[3] . Evidence from literature also suggests that initial lifestyle interventions are cost-effective [4] and can significantly reduce the incidence of diabetes in Asian Indians with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or with combined IGT + IFG [5] . Further, lifestyle intervention with diet and exercise in those with IGT can significantly decrease the incidence of diabetes and its complications while providing long-term beneficial effects for up to 20 years [6] .

Healthy eating is one of the two most important components of the healthy living campaign besides optimising physical activity and exercise levels. The UK Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) demonstrated that a significant number of the patients could not only achieve good glycaemic control after initial nutrition intervention soon after diagnosis but some of them could maintain target blood glucose only on medical nutrition therapy for several years [7] . Medical nutrition therapy (MNT) with or without diabetes self management training has been shown to reduce HbA1c from 0.5 -2.6 per cent in patients with type 2 diabetes [2] . Interventions included reduced energy intake and/or reduced carbohydrate/fat intake, carbohydrate counting, and basic nutrition and healthy food choices for improved glycaemic control.

Healthy food choice with the most beneficial metabolic profile is provided by a high-carbohydrate low-fat and fiber-rich diet which has been found to has a definite role in prevention of diabetes. High-carbohydrate diabetic diets are effective when relatively large amounts of unrefined carbohydrate and fiber are included such as legumes, unprocessed vegetables and fruits. Brown rice is preferred to polished white rice. Low carbohydrate diets usually tend to be high in fat and/or high protein and are, therefore, not to be preferred. Fat intake should occur mainly in the form of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) with a parallel decrease in saturated fatty acids (SFAs) and trans fatty acids (TFAs). Such a diet is particularly beneficial in patients with impaired glucose tolerance, diabetes and obesity [8] . It is also recommended that intake of sugar be restricted to less than 10 per cent of total daily energy intake [9] . Combining foods with high and low glycaemic indices, such as adding fiber-rich foods to a meal or snack can also help improve glycaemic and lipaemic profiles.

Since Asians are considered to do less physical activity compared to their western counterparts, lifestyle modification involving physical activity interventions are of paramount importance for blood glucose control and cardiovascular protection in patients with T2DM [8] . A systematic review and meta-analysis of exercise (aerobic, resistance training or both) reported an HbA1c reduction of 0.7 per cent, independent of changes in body weight, in people with type 2 diabetes [10] . Prospective cohort studies have also shown that higher physical activity levels including aerobic as well as resistance exercises predicted lower long-term morbidity and mortality in people with type 2 diabetes [11] . A combination of aerobic and resistance training exercises in individuals with T2DM can improve metabolic control while reducing the obesity and its related complications [8] . In the diabetic patient it is recommended to introduce physical activity gradually and setting individualized and specific goals. A total of 60 min of physical activity is recommended every day for healthy Indians in view of the high predisposition to develop T2DM and coronary artery disease (CAD). This can include at least 30 min of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, 15 min of work-related activity and 15 min of muscle-strengthening exercises (at least 3 times/week). People with prediabetes should modify their lifestyle and attempt to lose 5 to 10 per cent of body weight if overweight or obese and participate in moderate physical activity (e.g. walking) for at least 150 min/wk. Healthy lifestyle measures including diet and physical activity are equally important for non-obese patients with prediabetes and T2DM also [8] . Optimal sleep (7-8 h per night) has been shown to maintain metabolic health, aid in weight loss and increase insulin sensitivity while short-duration (< 5-6 h) or longer-duration (> 8-9 h) of sleep was associated with increased risk of diabetes [12],[13] . Hence, it is recommended that all individuals including those with prediabetes and diabetes should have 6-8 h of sleep daily [8] .

Stress is another important contributor to diabetes and the overall cardiometabolic risk of Indians. Recent studies have shown that stress and endocrine stress responses could be associated with a higher risk of diabetes in Indians [14] . Besides this, a significant proportion of Indian diabetic patients particularly women also have associated biosocial stress, anxiety and depression [15],[16] . There is also a need for effective stress relieving approaches as part of an overall strategy of healthy living if we are to effectively contain the problem of diabetes and its complications.

Yoga has also been shown to reduce glycaemic parameters, improve insulin sensitivity, improve anthropometric measures, and enhance glucose utilization [17],[18] . Currently the role of yoga and fenugreek in the prevention of diabetes is being evaluated in the Indian prevention of Diabetes Study by Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India (RSSDI) [8] . In view of the resource constraints and diversity in lifestyles among Indian population, yoga appears to be a suitable cost-effective alternative to supplement to lifestyle intervention programmes that are close to population. Yogic practices can be combined with other forms of physical activity when it should be done for 30 min every day [8] .

One of the major challenges of lifestyle modification is that it can be difficult to achieve and maintain in the long-term once initial changes have been made [6] . Many of the healthy eating and healthy physical activity interventions have been shown to be successful only in clinical trial settings with labour intensive protocols involving constant reinforcement through multiple encounters on a continued basis [19],[20] . The real challenge is to translate this evidence to the real life situation with all financial and human resource limitations. Also, there is a lack of knowledge about the contribution of lifestyle measures in lowering blood glucose particularly when used in combination with drugs. In addition, attitudes, cultural differences and religious and social beliefs and imbalances in dietary patterns pose significant barriers in effective prevention and management of T2DM in South Asians [21] . There is an urgent need for reinforcing patient education and self management approaches to be able to sustain healthy living among diabetic and prediabetic patients. It is here that the role of the paramedical personnel/ diabetes educator becomes critical in constantly interacting with the patient and reinforcing the benefits of healthy living [8] . These health care professionals should be trained to be able to effectively provide lifestyle interventions which are sustainable.

Some recent evidence suggests that India is among the fastest converting nations from IGT and Normal Glucose Tolerance (NGT) to type 2 diabetes [22] , and once prediabetes has occurred promotion of healthy living has to be fast and aggressive as otherwise there is a serious risk of missing the opportunity. Another study [23] has suggested that presence of prediabetes range dysglycaemia already represents a late phenomenon in conversion to diabetes and lifestyle interventions instituted before the onset of prediabetes may be more effective in preventing diabetes. In fact, there is an urgent need of promoting healthy living universally as an aggressive primary prevention strategy for diabetes and all other lifestyle related diseases instead of waiting for identifying a high risk individual to act. Healthy living for all is the key to contain the diabetes epidemic in our country.

   References Top

Anjana RM, Pradeepa R, Deepa M, Datta M, Sudha V, Unnikrishnan R, et al; ICMR-INDIAB Collaborative Study Group. Prevalence of diabetes and prediabetes (impaired fasting glucose and/or impaired glucose tolerance) in urban and rural India: phase I results of the Indian Council of Medical Research-INdia DIABetes (ICMR-INDIAB) study. Diabetologia 2011; 54 : 3022-7.  Back to cited text no. 1
Pastors JG, Franz MJ. Effectiveness of medical nutrition therapy in diabetes. In: Franz MJ, Evert AB, editors. American Diabetes Association guide to nutrition therapy for diabetes. 2 nd ed. Alexandria, VA: American Diabetes Association; 2012. p. 1-18.  Back to cited text no. 2
Ratner R, Goldbeng R, Haffner S, Marcovina S, Orchard T, Fowler S, et al. The Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group. Impact of intensive lifestyle and metformin therapy on cardiovascular disease risk factors in the diabetes prevention program. Diabetes Care 2005; 28 : 888-94.  Back to cited text no. 3
Ramachandran A, Snehalatha C, Yamuna A, Mary S, Ping Z. Cost-effectiveness of the interventions in the primary prevention of diabetes among Asian Indians: within-trial results of the Indian Diabetes Prevention Programme (IDPP). Diabetes Care 2007; 30 : 2548-52.  Back to cited text no. 4
Ramachandran A, Snehalatha C, Mary S, Mukesh B, Bhaskar AD, Vijay V; Indian Diabetes Prevention Programme (IDPP). The Indian Diabetes Prevention Programme shows that lifestyle modification and metformin prevent type 2 diabetes in Asian Indian subjects with impaired glucose tolerance (IDPP-1). Diabetologia 2006; 49 : 289-97.  Back to cited text no. 5
Li G, Zhang P, Wang J, Gregg EW, Yang W, Gong Q, et al. The long-term effect of lifestyle interventions to prevent diabetes in the China Da Qing Diabetes Prevention Study: a 20-year follow-up study. Lancet 2008; 371 : 1783-9.  Back to cited text no. 6
UK Prospective Diabetes Study G7: response of fasting plasma glucose to diet therapy in newly presenting type II diabetic patients, UKPDS Group. Metabolism 1990; 39 : 905-12.  Back to cited text no. 7
Madhu SV, Saboo B, Makkar BM, Reddy GC, Jana J, Panda JK, et al; Guideline Development Group. RSSDI Clinical Practice Recommendations for Management of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, 2015. Int J Diabetes Dev Ctries 2015; 35 (Suppl 1): 1-71.  Back to cited text no. 8
Gulati S, Misra A. Sugar intake, obesity, and diabetes in India. Nutrients 2014; 6 : 5955-74.  Back to cited text no. 9
Boule NG, Haddad E, Kenny GP, Wells GA, Sigal RJ. Effects of exercise on glycemic control and body mass in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a meta-analysis of controlled clinical trials. JAMA 2001; 286 : 1218-27.   Back to cited text no. 10
Umpierre D, Ribeiro PA, Kramer CK, Leitao CB, Zucatti AT, Azevedo MJ, et al. Physical activity advice only or structured exercise training and association with HbA1c levels in type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA 2011; 305 : 1790-9.  Back to cited text no. 11
Cappuccio FP, D'Elia L, Strazzullo P, Miller MA. Quantity and quality of sleep and incidence of type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Diabetes Care 2010; 33 : 414-20.  Back to cited text no. 12
Cedernaes J, Schiöth HB, Benedict C. Determinants of shortened, disrupted, and mistimed sleep and associated metabolic health consequences in healthy humans. Diabetes 2015; 64 : 1073-80.   Back to cited text no. 13
Siddiqui A, Madhu SV, Sharma SB, Desai NG. Endocrine stress responses and risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Stress 2015; 13 : 1-9.   Back to cited text no. 14
Weaver LJ, Worthman CM, DeCaro JA, Madhu SV. The signs of stress: embodiments of biosocial stress among type 2 diabetic women in New Delhi, India. Soc Sci Med 2015; 131 : 122-30.   Back to cited text no. 15
Weaver LJ, Madhu SV. Type 2 diabetes and anxiety symptoms among women in New Delhi, India. Am J Public Health 2015; 105 : 2335-40.   Back to cited text no. 16
Balaji PA, Vame SR, Ali SS. Effects of yoga - pranayama practices on metabolic parameters and anthropometry in type 2 diabetes. Int Multidiscip Res J 2011; 1 : 1-4.  Back to cited text no. 17
Malhotra V, Singh S, Tandon OP, Sharma SB. The beneficial effect of yoga in diabetes. Nepal Med Coll J 2005; 7 : 145-7.  Back to cited text no. 18
Polonsky WH, Earles J, Smith S, Pease DJ, Macmillan M, Christensen R, et al. Integrating medical management with diabetes self-management training: a randomized control trial of the diabetes outpatient intensive treatment program. Diabetes Care 2003; 26 : 3048-53.  Back to cited text no. 19
Banister NA, Jastrow ST, Hodges V, Loop R, Gillham MB. Diabetes self-management training program in a community clinic improves patient outcomes at modest cost. J Am Diet Assoc 2004; 104 : 807-10.  Back to cited text no. 20
Misra A, Ramchandran A, Jayawardena R, Shrivastava U, Snehalatha C. Diabetes in South Asians. Diabet Med 2014; 31 : 1153-62.  Back to cited text no. 21
Anjana RM, Shanthi Rani CS, Deepa M, Pradeepa R, Sudha V, Divya Nair H, et al. Incidence of diabetes and prediabetes and predictors of progression among Asian Indians: 10-year follow-up of the Chennai Urban Rural Epidemiology Study (CURES). Diabetes Care 2015; 38 : 1441-8.  Back to cited text no. 22
Tabak AG, Jokela M, Akbaraly TN, Brunner EJ, Kivimaki M, Witte DR. Trajectories of glycaemia, insulin sensitivity, and insulin secretion before diagnosis of type 2 diabetes: an analysis from the Whitehall II study. Lancet 2009; 373 : 2215-21.  Back to cited text no. 23

This article has been cited by
1 RSSDI-ESI clinical practice recommendations for the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus 2020
Rajeev Chawla,SV Madhu,BM Makkar,Sujoy Ghosh,Banshi Saboo,Sanjay Kalra
Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2020; 24(1): 1
[Pubmed] | [DOI]
2 Nail fold capillaroscopic changes in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus: An observational, comparative study
Deepak Jakhar,Chander Grover,Archana Singal,GopalKrushna Das,SV Madhu
Indian Journal of Medical Specialities. 2020; 11(1): 28
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
    Access Statistics
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

  In this article

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded431    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 2    

Recommend this journal