Abstract

Background/Objective: Although obesity is the most importantrisk factor for diabetes, evidence is emerging thatcertain foodsand dietary factors may be associated withdiabetes.Empirical evidence from western countries have shown that the choice offoods plays a role in diabetes prevention. We examined the association between consumption of different food items and therisk of diabetes in adult men and women in India.


Methods: Analysis is based on a large-scale population based cross-sectional study of 99,574 women and 56,742 men aged20-49 years included in India’s third National Family Health Survey, 2005-06. Effects of various food intake determined byfrequency of consumption (daily, weekly, occasionally and never), on the reported prevalence of diabetes were estimated usingmultivariable logistic regression after adjusting for body mass index, tobacco smoking, alcohol drinking, television watching andsocio-economic and demographic characteristics such as age, education, religion, caste/tribe, living standard of the householdand residence. The analysis was done separately for men and women.


Results: Daily intakes of fruits were found to be associated with a reduced risk of diabetes both among men (OR:0.33;95%CI:0.22-0.50;p<0.0001) and women (OR:0.44;95%CI:0.32-0.61;p<0.0001) whereas weekly or occasional intake of milk or curd and pulsesand beans was associated with a reduced risk of diabetes among men but not women. The risk of diabetes was 2.5 times higheramong men (OR:2.46;95%CI:1.66-3.65;p<0.0001) and 1.7 times higher among women (OR:1.72;95%CI:1.26-2.33;p=0.001) whoconsumed fish daily as compared to those who never consumed fish. Weekly fish intake also contribute to a higher risk ofdiabetes both among men (OR:1.77;95%CI:1.24-2.53;p=0.002) and women (OR:1.41;95%CI:1.07-1.87;p=0.016). No significantassociation was observed with the consumption of green leafy vegetables, eggs, chicken or meat with risk of diabetes in adultIndians.


Conclusion: Our findings provide support for potential behavioral prevention strategies, as we identified a food intake patternthat was strongly associated with the risk of diabetes. Our results also suggest that prevention of diabetes might be aided byconsumption of certain foods that are rich in nutrients with hypothesized health benefits in this population.However, moreepidemiological research with better measures of food intake and clinical measures of diabetes is needed to validate the findingsin a developing country setting.