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INTRODUCTION: India has high mortality rates from cardiovascular disease (CVD). Understanding the trends and identifying modifiable determinants of CVD risk factors will guide preventive strategies and policy making. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: CVD risk factors (obesity, central obesity, and type 2 diabetes (T2D), hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and hypertriglyceridemia) prevalence and incidence were estimated in 962 (male 519) non-migrant adults from Vellore, South India, studied in: (1) 1998-2002 (mean age 28.2 years) and (2) 2013-2014 (mean age 41.7 years). Prevalence was compared with the Non-Communicable Disease Risk Collaboration (global) data. Incidence was compared with another Indian cohort from New Delhi Birth Cohort (NDBC). Regression analysis was used to test baseline predictors of incident CVD risk factors. RESULTS: The prevalence at 28 and 42 years was 17% (95% CI 14% to 19%) and 51% (95% CI 48% to 55%) for overweight/obesity, 19% (95% CI 17% to 22%) and 59% (95% CI 56% to 62%) for central obesity, 3% (95% CI 2% to 4%) and 16% (95% CI 14% to 19%) for T2D, 2% (95% CI 1% to 3%) and 19% (95% CI 17% to 22%) for hypertension and 15% (95% CI 13% to 18%) and 30% (95% CI 27% to 33%) for hypertriglyceridemia. The prevalence of T2D at baseline and follow-up and hypertension at follow-up was comparable with or exceeded that in high-income countries despite lower obesity rates. The incidence of most risk factors was lower in Vellore than in the NDBC. Waist circumference strongly predicted incident T2D, hypertension and hypertriglyceridemia. CONCLUSIONS: A high prevalence of CVD risk factors was evident at a young age among Indians compared with high and upper middle income countries, with rural rates catching up with urban estimates. Adiposity predicted higher incident CVD risk, but the prevalence of hypertension and T2D was higher given a relatively low obesity prevalence. Preventive efforts should target both rural and urban India and should start young.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open Diabetes Res Care

Publication Date





cardiovascular system, diabetes mellitus, risk factors, type 2