The Impact of Diabetes on Productivity in India


Diabetes increases the risk of premature mortality and considerably impacts on work productivity. We sought to examine the impact of diabetes in India, in terms of excess premature mortality, years of life lost (YLL), productivity-adjusted life years (PALYs) lost, and its associated economic impact.


A life table model was constructed to examine the productivity of the Indian working-age population currently aged 20–59 years with diabetes, followed until death or retirement age (60 years). The same cohort was resimulated, hypothetically assuming that they did not have diabetes. The total difference between the two cohorts, in terms of excess deaths, YLL and PALYs lost reflected the impact of diabetes. Data regarding the prevalence of diabetes, mortality, labor force dropouts, and productivity loss attributable to diabetes were derived from published sources.


In 2017, an estimated 54.4 million (7.6%) people of working-age in India had diabetes. With simulated follow-up until death or retirement age, diabetes was predicted to cause 8.5 million excess deaths (62.7% of all deaths), 42.7 million YLL (7.4% of total estimated years of life lived), and 89.0 million PALYs lost (23.3% of total estimated PALYs), equating to an estimated Indian rupee 176.6 trillion (U.S. dollars 2.6 trillion; purchasing power parity 9.8 trillion) in lost gross domestic product.


Our study demonstrates the impact of diabetes on productivity loss and highlights the importance of health strategies aimed at the prevention of diabetes.