Amitabh Bachchan gets all-clear after diabetes test in Britain

August 24th, 2008 - 10:46 am ICT by IANS  

Leicester, Aug 23 (IANS) Indian screen idol Amitabh Bachchan underwent a diabetes test in this British city before a large crowd of Indians and exhorted them to follow his example.Minutes after undergoing the test Saturday at the Silver Star Appeal, a diabetes charity begun by British MP Keith Vaz, Bachchan emerged before the milling crowd of around 1,000 screaming fans.

“He’s in the clear, and was very happy about it,” said Vaz.

“We gave him a self-testing kit to take away.”

Bachchan, who visited the city to launch a new Silver Star diabetes testing centre, told reporters he was “supporting a very noble cause.”

The Bollywood star said it was his brush with death in 1982 - he was badly wounded shooting a fight scene for the film “Coolie” - that made him aware of the need for supporting health causes.

“I’d love to replicate this in India as well. I’m sure they’ve many such initiatives in India but if I can link up and do something more, why not?” the mega star said.

“If a face and a voice can help spread the message, then I’m more than happy to be that face and voice,” he added.

Bachchan readily agreed to be tested after an impromptu request by the Indian-origin MP, who discovered he had type 2 diabetes after attending a local screening centre.

Just as Bachchan urged Indians to get themselves tested, Vaz told fellow-MPs in the British lower house of parliament last month: “Some right honourable and honourable members will have diabetes but will be unaware of it.”

Some 22 million people in Britain have diabetes, but another 750,000 will have the condition without knowing about it because they have not tested.

South Asians are particularly vulnerable as the incidence of diabetes is disproportionately high in the community.

With Leicester - home to the largest Indian-origin community outside India - expected to become the first British city where the indigenous white population will be in a minority by 2010, diabetes testing has become a priority.

By 2010, experts estimate, some 66,000 people in the county of Leicestershire will be living with diabetes without being aware of it.

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