Towards healthy travel: Demand for diabetic diet on trains

Towards healthy travel: Demand for diabetic diet on trains

Kalyan Ray, Jan 20, 2016, New Delhi, DHNS:

Towards healthy travel: Demand for diabetic diet on trains

With India being the diabetes capital of the world, Health Minister J P Nadda has asked Railway minister Suresh Prabhu to consider introducing diabetic diets in the trains.

Earlier this week, Nadda wrote to his cabinet colleague proposing to introduce “diabetic diets” on trains and on railway platforms to contain the surge of the lifestyle disease. Most of the food items currently available in the railways are unhealthy.

Three years ago, railway ministry officials informed Nadda–then a member of Parliament from Himachal Pradesh–that instructions were issued to provide special meals to diabetic and ailing passengers on request at least in Rajdhani and Shatabdi Express trains. But barely anything happened since that 2013 communication.

“As the patient of diabetes has a very specific dietary regimen to be adhered to at all times, it would be beneficial if all diabetic patients travelling in railways have an option of getting diabetic diet in trains,” Nadda said in his January 15 the letter to Prabhu.

While doctors and public health researchers have warned about India’s high diabetes burden for a long time, one of the latest estimates suggest two out of three Indians with type 2 diabetes die from cardiovascular disease, and more than half of these deaths occur prematurely.

The World Health Organisation's south-east Asia region is home to an estimated 91 million people – including 70 million Indians - affected by diabetes. Approximately half of them go undiagnosed.

Unless urgent preventative action is taken deaths and disability from cardiovascular disease is estimated to cost $2.2 trillion dollars to the Indian economy by 2030, said Aseem Malhotra, a leading British cardiologist and founding member of the campaign group Action on Sugar.

The International Diabetes Federation has estimated that by 2040, the number of Indian diabetic patients is likely to rise to 123.5 million people, a frightening increase of 78.5 per cent. A low-income Indian family with an adult living with diabetes may spend up to 25 per cent of their income on diabetes care.