The KISS School of Anthropological Sciences (KSAS), in partnership with the United Indian Anthropology Forum (UIAF) and collaboration with the Departments of Anthropology Utkal University, University of Delhi and Sambalpur University, organized the third Pre WAC-2023 Distinguished Invited Online Lecture Series (PDIOLS#3) on 30th September 2021. The topic of the lecture was ‘Why do Indians get heart diseases before time and what can we do about it?’. The lecture was delivered by Professor Sanjay Kinra, Clinical Epidemiologist and Head of the Department of Non-Communicable Diseases Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. He addressed over a hundred attendees.

Professor Sanjay Kinra specializes in the aetiology and low-cost treatment of premature diabetes and has conducted a cohort study on the social and biological risk factors of multiple-morbidity conditions in Telangana. He has developed culturally-tailored interventions for self-management of chronic conditions of diabetes and heart diseases in South East Asia, and especially India, involving low skill, traditional therapies (Yoga/Ayurveda) and digital technologies/artificial intelligence, etc.

In his talk, Professor Sanjay Kinra presented a statistical fact-check as the background for the relatively high incidence of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes in low-income countries like India in comparison with developed countries like the US. On average, a heart attack occurs at the age of 53 in India, while it does at the age of 58/59 in the United States. The cases of heart diseases are rising in India, whereas these are declining in the developed countries.

Professor Kinara said that there are as many as 15 etiological theories relating to premature diabetes that can be classified under three broad categories, namely Inter-generational genetic and epigenetic factors, Pregnancy Childhood related factors and Adolescence Adulthood factors of lifestyle, lack of the intake of Vitamin D, Vitamin B12 and Folic acid. While the first two categories of theoretical factors lack substantial evidence and trial data, Dr Kinara held that the third category lacked cohort and accurate measures. He went on citing the reasons for the prevalence of diabetes in young people in India and shared his main findings on the effect of the integration of supplemented nutrition with public health programs during pregnancy and early childhood relating to cardiovascular issues. Professor Kinara expressed the dire need for better data management and data analysis. Sharing his findings on the Indian Migration Study from 2005 to 2008, he stated that cases of poor musculature, the deposit of body fat in the abdominal region, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. have risen with the change of the lifestyle and unhealthy diet of migrant workers in the industrialized urban areas.  To mitigate these problems, Dr Kinara emphasized culturally suitable interventions like Yoga practice, consumption of fruit and vegetables to be undertaken at both the individual and local levels.  He concluded, reasons for premature heart disease in Indians may be due to poor diet and inactivity.

He also stated that there is an urgent need for better quantificational cohort studies and trials studies to assess the positive results of the individual and localized interventions.

Earlier, in his welcome address, Professor Deepak Kumar Behera, Vice-Chancellor, KISS-DU briefed the audience about the previous two distinguished lectures and expressed his hope that these lectures will help KISS-DU form links with other leading universities in India and across the globe. He also added that the lectures are a curtain-raiser to WAC-2023, and these will draw the attention of the international scholars and arouse their interest to be associated with KISS-DU.

Dr Prashanta Kumar Routray, Registrar suggested the participants share with others their learnings from the talk and play a key role in spreading awareness on the gravity of the health problems. He also expressed gratitude to the speaker on behalf of the KISS fraternity.

Sr. Professor Ashok Mohapatra introduced the distinguished speaker and shared some of the research milestones achieved by Professor Sanjay Kinara. In the end, Professor S. Gregory, Member Secretary, UIAF, offered thanks to the distinguished speaker, participants and organizing committee.