Awareness and knowledge of diabetes in Chennai--the Chennai Urban Rural Epidemiology Study [CURES-9].
BACKGROUND AND AIM There are virtually no epidemiological studies from India assessing the level of awareness of diabetes in a whole population. The aim of the present study was to assess the awareness of diabetes in an urban south Indian population in Chennai. METHODS The Chennai Urban Rural Epidemiology Study (CURES) is an ongoing population based study conducted using a systematic sampling method on a representative population (aged > or = 20 years - 26001 individuals) of Chennai [formerly Madras], the largest city in Southern India. A structured questionnaire was used to obtain information related to demography, education and medical history. The questionnaire included five questions on diabetes awareness. RESULTS Of the total 26,001 individuals, only 75.5% (19642/26001) of the whole population reported that they knew about a condition called diabetes or conversely nearly 25% of the Chennai population was unaware of a condition called diabetes. 60.2% (15656/26001) of all participants and 76.7% (1173/1529) of the self reported diabetic subjects knew that the prevalence of diabetes was increasing in India. Only 22.2% (5764/ 26001) of the whole population and 41.0% (627/1529) of the known diabetic subjects were aware that diabetes could be prevented. Knowledge of the role of obesity and physical inactivity in producing diabetes was very low, with only 11.9% (3083/26001) of study subjects reporting these as risk factors for diabetes. Only 19.0% (4951/26001) of whole population knew that diabetes could cause complications. Even among the self reported diabetic subjects, only 40.6% (621/1529) were aware that diabetes could produce some complications. CONCLUSION Awareness and knowledge regarding diabetes is still grossly inadequate in India. Massive diabetes education programmes are urgently needed both in urban and rural India.