About 72.9 per cent of the participants had a BMI of over 23 kg/m2 which puts them in the obese or overweight category, according to a study by Fitterfly revealing the prevalence of pre-diabetes risks in corporate India. These people have a 1.9x higher risk of pre-diabetes than those with a BMI lower than 23 kg/m2, it added.
Mid- to senior-level management employees (age 40 years and above) are at a significantly higher 1.4-fold risk of prediabetes than people with an age less than 40 years. The study analysed data of around 2020 (1384 males, 636 females) participants from leading corporates. Overall, 272 participants were found to be at high risk, 1296 at medium risk, and the remaining 452 at low risk of diabetes.
Fitterfly, a health-tech start-up working in the field of digital health and therapeutics, conducted awareness webinars and online prediabetes risk calculators for the employees of companies over a period of 12 months, spanning from August 14, 2021, to August 14, 2022. The timeframe was strategically chosen 90 days ahead of Diabetes Day (November 14), as scientifically, it takes 90 days to mend the lifestyle to reverse prediabetes and prevent progression to diabetes.
The study also found a significant prevalence of other risk factors for diabetes/pre-diabetes among corporate employees. For instance, 58.3 per cent people had a family history of diabetes, which makes them highly vulnerable to the disease. 46.9 per cent of participants performed physical activity below the recommended level of 150 minutes per week. Females (50.1 per cent) lagged behind their male counterparts (45.4 per cent) in performing the physical activities. A combination of risk factors is hazardous, as was also pointed out by the study, since 31.6 per cent of total participants who had a BMI higher than 23 Kg/m2 and an age greater than 40 years were at the highest risk for prediabetes.
The implications of these findings are that people with pre-diabetes have a high likelihood of becoming affected by diabetes within the next five years if the risk factors are not understood and taken care of immediately. When we factor in associated problems such as obesity, weakening of immunity and mobility, vision and other challenges, it becomes a major economic cost in the form of lost productivity. Further, the employer organisations also need to spend additionally on medical reimbursements, etc.
Speaking about the study, Dr Arbinder Singal, co-founder and CEO, Fitterfly, said, "The changing workspaces and styles of working in recent years are causing a lot of challenges for employees, irrespective of their location. The need of the hour is to quickly identify these risks, and raise awareness about the perils of diabetes."