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Chronic Disease Risk Factors Study

Chronic Disease Risk Factors Study: 2011 – 2013

In Partnership with Public Health Foundation of India / South Asia Network for Chronic Diseases Funding Support from Wellcome Trust


Chronic Disease Risk Factors Study (CDRF) was a two-year (2011-2013) multi-site community study, carried out in collaboration with three partner institutions:

1. Voluntary Health Services (VHS, Chennai)
2. International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research (ICDDR-Bangladesh)
3. Sangath (Goa)


1. Estimate the prevalence of household and individual CDRF and their outcomes
2. Evaluate the adequacy of diagnosis and treatment of CDRF
3. Study the feasibility, acceptability and validation of diagnostic tools and electronic data capture
4. Establish teams and infrastructure for research and scale up with higher sample size and long-term follow-up

Focused on four Chronic Disease Risk Factors

1. Tobacco use
2. Alcohol consumption
3. Physical activity
4. Diet

Measured four outcomes

1. Body Mass Index (BMI)
2. Blood pressure
3. Lung function
4. Visual acuity


  • Piloted and developed appropriate methods for measuring biological and epidemiological components required to assess chronic diseases and their risk factors in households
  • Tested feasibility, acceptability and scalability of conducting a wide range of measurements in the home and clinic using electronic data capture tools among rural and urban populations
  • Sample comprised of children and adult members drawn from households and community based clinics
  • Phase I: A baseline survey was carried out to estimate the prevalence of chronic diseases and distribution of risk factors
  • Phase II: Focused on developing a large cohort for comprehensive chronic disease research
  • Study was carried out at three selected sites located in the Southern periphery of Chennai. Respondents comprised 3,500 persons aged two years and above
  • A special feature of the study was the development of an electronic data capture system to monitor data quality and track progress of data collection

Key Findings

  • Alcohol dependent men are more likely to experience depression leading to difficulties in family and social life, problems at work, legal troubles and lower quality of physical health
  • Women who live with alcoholic husbands do not show any increased tendency for depression – this may be due to adaptive responses from wives to stabilize stressful situations and restore harmony in the household
  • An increasing trend in suicidal attempt by women was observed in households where men abuse alcohol
  • Work based active travel is an effective way to meet recommended physical activity levels in rural settings
  • Increasing physical activity helps reduce obesity among men and women and protects against weight gain