A new study indicates that 20% of the UAE's total population suffers from diabetes. The study, entitled Emirates National Diabetes and Coronary Artery Disease Risk Factors, was conducted by Dr Ali Bakir, Head of Endocrinology and Diabetes at Al Mafraq Hospital in Abu Dhabi and presented at the third scientific meeting of the Gulf Group for the Study of Diabetes (GGSD) which was held recently in Dubai, reported Gulf News.
The study was a sharp contrast to previous health statistics by the UAE Ministry of Health, which believed as late as September 2001 that only 16% of the UAE population were diabetic.
The study was conducted on adults aged 20-year-old and above living in the UAE. It surveyed 6,000 people from UAE nationals and expatriates who spent 10 years and more in the country. It revealed that the overall percentage of diabetes was 20% in the adult UAE population with men and women equally affected.
About 40 per cent of those aged 55 years and above in the UAE suffer from diabetes and 45 per cent of all persons with diabetes were diagnosed for the first time. The study also demonstrated that the prevalence of diabetes was 25 per cent in the UAE nationals compared to 17 per cent in the expatriates, Dr Bakir added.
Other findings of the study were that 33% of the population surveyed was overweight, and 40% were obese – both factors that can contribute to health risks including high blood pressure and diabetes. "Some people do not differentiate between the overweight and obesity concepts. Overweight is classified when the weight of the person is slightly above the normal, while obesity is an advanced degree of overweight," Dr Bakir said.
Dr. Bakir also added that fighting diabetes must involve the whole community, making use of health educators, media, Ministry of Health, physicians, schoolteachers and nurses in spreading awareness of the risks and treatments. (www.albawaba.com )
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