A new study published in Public Library of Science Medicine reports that migrating to urban areas may be associated with a rise in obesity and type 2 diabetes.
In India, the prevalence of diabetes has risen from 5 percent to 15 percent between the years of 1994 and 2004. Scientists believe that the condition arises from the increased consumption of saturated fats and sugars and a sedentary lifestyle, and that urbanization may play a significant role.
Over the years, people have begun migrating from more rural areas in India to the expanding cities, which has caused changes in diet and behavior.
Lead author Shah Ebrahim and his colleagues recruited people who had recently moved to an urban area. Each person was asked to include a sibling still living in a rural region. The team collected information on each participant's diet, physical activity, blood sugar and body mass index.
The results showed that 37.8 percent of migrants were obese, compared to 19 percent of rural residents. Meanwhile, 14.3 percent of migrants had type 2 diabetes, while 6.2 percent of those in rural areas had the condition.
The researchers concluded that urban migration is associated with obesity and diabetes, and that interventions targeting this population may reduce their risk for these diseases.