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‘70% north Indian women low in vitamin D, at high diabetes risk’

An inverse relationship exists between vitamin D levels and blood sugar levels indicating lower the vitamin D levels, the higher the blood sugar.

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VITAMIN D

New Delhi, July 4: Despite adequate exposure to sunshine, nearly 70 per cent pre-diabetic women in north India are “deficient” in vitamin D, making them more vulnerable to the risk of developing Type-2 diabetes, finds a study.

Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar is high, but not high enough to be type 2 diabetes.

The findings showed that pre-diabetes women living in north India were 68.6 per cent vitamin D “deficient”, 26 per cent have “insufficient” levels, while only 5.5 per cent have “sufficient” levels of the vitamin.

“In India, there is a need to understand this as women have a propensity to be obese, develop metabolic syndrome, consequent hyperglycaemia and thereby be at the risk of diabetes. The pace at which women are moving from the pre-diabetic stage to the diabetic stage is alarming,” Anoop Misra, Chairman Fortis C-Doc, said in a statement.

“If this could be prevented by prescribing a cost effective vitamin D supplement, it would be truly amazing,” he added.

According to the researchers, an inverse relationship exists between vitamin D levels and blood sugar levels indicating lower the vitamin D levels, the higher the blood sugar.

It is because vitamin D may have a direct effect on the pancreatic beta cell function, thereby increasing insulin production.

“Previous studies had already established the link between the high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency and abdominal obesity. However, the relationship between vitamin D and the development of pre-diabetes, with a special focus on women, has remained obscure and unexplored,” Misra noted.

According to a recent report by India Spend, the country currently represents 49 per cent of the world’s diabetes burden, with an estimated 72 million cases in 2017, a figure expected to almost double to 134 million by 2025.

For the study, published in the British Medical Journal, the team included 797 women between the ages of 20 and 60.

The results indicated that women from lower socio-economic groups tend to have a higher vitamin deficiency that those from higher socio-economic groups.

Post-menopausal women who suffer from low calcium deposits in addition to low vitamin D deficiency were also found to be at a higher risk of bone damage than others.

Supplementation with vitamin D — present in foods such as milk, eggs, salmon, tuna, and mushroom — may prevent diabetes in India women, the researchers suggested.

A healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco use are ways to prevent or delay the onset of Type-2 diabetes, the researchers said.

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Walking just 35 minutes daily can reduce stroke risk in elderly

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Walking old elderly
Photo Credit- Shutterstock

New York, Sep 20: Older adults can prevent their risk of strokes by taking a daily stroll for just 35 minutes a day or four hours a week, say researchers.

Indulging in moderate physical activity, such as swimming, brisk walking, or running two to three hours a week may also reduce the severity of strokes than people who are physically inactive.

“Stroke is a major cause of serious disability, so finding ways to prevent stroke or reduce the disability caused by stroke are important,” said Katharina S. Sunnerhagen, from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

“While exercise benefits health in many ways, our research suggests that even simply getting in a small amount of physical activity each week may have a big impact later by possibly reducing the severity of a stroke,” she added.

For the study, published in the journal Neurology, the team identified 925 people with an average age of 73 who had a stroke.

Of the 481 people who were physically inactive, 354 or 73 per cent had mild stroke. Of the 384 who engaged in light physical activity, 330 or 85 per cent had mild stroke. Of the 59 people who engaged in moderate physical activity, 53 or 89 per cent had mild stroke.

People who engaged in light to moderate physical activity before their stroke were twice as likely to have a mild stroke rather than a moderate or severe stroke when compared to people who were physically inactive, the researchers said.

“There is a growing body of evidence that physical activity may have a protective effect on the brain and our research adds to that evidence,” Sunnerhagen said.

The study does not prove that physical activity reduces stroke severity; it only shows an association, she noted.

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High sugar levels in yogurt may up obesity risk

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yogurt dahi

London, Sep 20: Often marketed as a healthy dairy product, yogurt is not necessarily good as it contains free or added sugars and fat — even more than soft drinks and fruit juices, thus increasing the risk of obesity, a study has claimed.

The findings, led by researchers from Britain’s University of Leeds, showed that yogurt products, particularly organic yogurt and those marketed towards children, contain high sugar levels.

In the study published in the journal BMJ Open, researchers analysed over 900 types of yogurt and yogurt products and found that fewer than one in 10 (9 per cent) qualified as low sugar — almost none of which were in the children’s category.

This is “concerning” given the rise in childhood obesity and the prevalence of tooth decay among young children, the researchers said.

“While yogurt may be less of a concern than soft drinks and fruit juices, the chief sources of free sugars in both children and adults’ diets, what is worrisome is that yogurt, as a perceived ‘healthy food’ may be an unrecognised source of free/added sugars in the diet,” said J. Bernadette Moore from the varsity.

Apart from products in the dessert category, organic yogurts were found to have the highest average sugar content — roughly 13.1 grams per 100 grams.

By and large, average fat content was either below or just above the low-fat threshold.

“Not all yogurts are as healthy as perhaps consumers perceive them, and reformulation for the reduction of free sugars is warranted,” the researchers said.

According to co-author Annabelle Horti from the varsity: “Changing the public desire for ‘sweeter’ yogurts may be a real challenge when it comes to reducing its sugar content. In general, consumers’ liking for yogurt is often correlated with sweetness.

“Helping people to understand the quantity of sugar that is in their yogurt and its possible ill effects on health may go a long way to smoothing the road for when the sugar is reduced,” she noted.

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TB remains world’s deadliest infectious disease: WHO

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Tuberculosis TB
Underreporting and under-diagnosis of TB cases remains a major challenge. (Source: AP Photo)

Geneva, Sep 19: Tuberculosis (TB) remains the world’s deadliest infectious disease although global efforts have averted an estimated 54 million tuberculosis (TB) deaths since 2000, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Tuesday.

WHO, in its latest 2018 Global TB Report, says countries are still not doing enough to end TB by 2030 and calls for an unprecedented mobilization of national and international commitments. It urges for decisive action from nearly 50 heads of state and government who are expected to gather next week for the first-ever UN High-level Meeting on TB, Xinhua news agency reported.

The report finds that overall, TB deaths have decreased over the past year, with an estimated 10 million people having developed TB and 1.6 million deaths, including among 300,000 HIV-positive people, in 2017. The number of new cases is falling by two percent per year.

However, underreporting and under-diagnosis of TB cases remains a major challenge. Of the 10 million people who fell ill with TB in 2017, only 6.4 million were officially recorded by national reporting systems, leaving 3.6 million people undiagnosed, or detected but not reported.

Ten countries accounted for 80 percent of this gap, according to the report, with India, Indonesia and Nigeria topping the list. Less than half of the estimated one million children with TB were reported in 2017, making it a much higher gap in detection than that in adults.

Treatment coverage, at 64 percent, also lags behind and must increase to at least 90 percent by 2025 to meet the targets of ending TB by 2030.

To urgently improve detection, diagnosis and treatment rates, the WHO and partners launched a new initiative in 2018 to set the target of providing quality care to 40 million people with TB from 2018 to 2022, while predicting that at least 30 million people should be able to access TB preventive treatment during the period.

The WHO strongly recommends preventive treatment for people living with HIV, and children under five years living in households with TB, and has issued related new guidance this year to facilitate greater access to preventive services for those who need it.

Next week’s UN High-Level Meeting on TB is critical and the WHO, while calling for the health sector to address the risk factors and determinants of the disease, is particularly pushing for commitments at the level of heads of state to galvanize multi-sectoral action.

“We have never seen such high-level political attention and understanding of what the world needs to do to end TB and drug-resistant TB,” said WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“We must ensure that we hold our leaders accountable for the actions they promise to take. And we must hold ourselves accountable for keeping the pressure on.”

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