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Health Implication of Urbanization, Migration and Obesity in India


  • Associate Professor, Medicine (CHP/PCOR)
Senior Fellow

Urbanization and obesity-related chronic diseases are cited as threats to the future health of India's older citizens. With 50% of deaths in adult Indians currently due to chronic diseases, the relationship of urbanization and migration trends to obesity patterns have important population health implications for older Indians. The researchers constructed and calibrated a set of 21 microsimulation models of weight and height of Indian adults. The models separately represented current urban and rural populations of India's major states and were further stratified by sex. They used the BioX-2 clusters (a machine with 2,208 64-bit processors in 276 dual quad core nodes each with 16GB of memory and a 48 TB shared parallel file system) to run future projections on obesity- and underweight-related mortality and inequalities across state and urban/rural boundaries.  This project has yielded a total of six peer-reviewed abstracts. The researchers presented preliminary work on these models at Stanford's first Food Summit, at Stanford Center for International Development, at UC Berkeley's Public Health Colloquium, and in India at the World Bank and at development institutes and NGOs in Chennai. This work was accepted as an abstract for the 2011 Society for Medical Decision Making and has been presented there as a top-ranked plenary session abstract. The model has been extended to explicitly include secular trends in calorie consumption, and based on this work as well as the completed work described above, a manuscript is in preparation for submission for journal publication. This project has led to receipt of an FSI Underdevelopment Action Fund Grant to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grants, to the receipt of a K01 from NIA/NIH, and the submission of an R01 and an NSF/NIH R01.