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Background

Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are projected to contribute to 75% of all global deaths by the end of the next decade, of which 80% will happen in low and middle income countries. Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disorders are the biggest contributors of NCDs. India has become both the type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disorders capital of the world.

Similar to type 2 diabetes, Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM; Diabetes in Pregnancy) is rapidly increasing across the world. More than 90% of GDM pregnancies happen in low and middle income countries and most of these cases occur in South and South East Asia. The current prevalence of GDM in our ongoing Medical Research Council-funded STRiDE study is 25-30%, even in the low socioeconomic strata of the population. GDM women have a 7-12 times higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and their children have a two to six times higher risk of developing obesity and type 2 diabetes in their early adulthood.

Understanding the pathophysiology of this ‘intergenerational’ programming of these metabolic disorders will enable better prediction and individualised prevention of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disorders. India is home to over 80 million people with type 2 diabates, with 50% of adults over 50 years of age having the condition. However, despite its rapidly increasing literacy rates, the country does not currently have the researchers required to tackle the problem.

Our International Doctoral Training Scholarships aim to help address this area of increasing concern through projects looking at diabetes in pregnancy.