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The fight against non-communicable disease in emerging economies

Please note that prior to May 2019, the Stanford King Center on Global Development was known as the Stanford Center on Global Poverty and Development.

Oct 17 2018

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In the News, Center on Global Poverty and Development News

Nephrologist and Center faculty affiliate Shuchi Anand is quoted in Nature magazine on the topic of rising rates of diabetes and kidney disease in low- and middle-income countries, and the importance of identifying at-risk populations early.

"Fuelled by mass urbanization, sedentary lifestyles and the growing availability of nutrient-poor processed foods, NCDs have emerged as leading causes of death in low- and middle-income countries (see ‘A weighty threat’). Cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory diseases and complications from diabetes now kill an estimated 15 million people a year; 85% of these premature deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. And death rates from NCDs are rising steadily in poor countries. These diseases strike people younger in poor countries than in high-income ones, and they rob fragile economies of crucial human capital."

According to Anand, around half the people affected by kidney disease in developing countries have diabetes while the rest have kidney disease resulting from non-conventional risk factors. Among these poorly understood factors are low birthweight, chronic dehydration, and inherited gene defects. Anand and Dorairaj Prabhakaran, a cardiologist and vice-president of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), are analyzing blood and urine samples to look for markers that might predict kidney disease in people without conventional risk factors. “Ideally, they’ll point to the high-risk people we should be screening routinely,” Anand says.

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