New Study Reveals Cardiometabolic Risk Factors in UAE Men Under 30 

The findings unveil very high prevalence of obesity and diabetes.

August 14, 2019 Inga Louisa Stevens

Zayed Military Hospital has published results from one of the largest national studies evaluating prevalence of cardiometabolic risk factors in UAE men. The findings unveil very high prevalence of obesity and diabetes amongst men under the age of 30 in the UAE.

By the age of 29 only 29 per cent of study subjects were in the normal BMI range, while almost 70 per cent were overweight or obese. Meanwhile, 62 per cent of study subjects presented at least one cardiometabolic risk factor such as high BMI, glucose, triglycerides, cholesterol, and blood pressure.

Findings

Led by Professor Ashraf Hasan Humaidan Alzaabi from Zayed Military Hospital in Abu Dhabi, the study highlighted that UAE patients who had a high BMI were more likely to present multiple cardiometabolic risk factors and to have hypertension. Alarmingly, around one in four subjects presented with more than one cardiometabolic risk factor.

These trends are not limited to nationals, as other recent studies have reported similarly high rates of obesity and diabetes amongst expatriates residing in the UAE.

“Our findings underline the serious nature of cardiometabolic risk factors and associated disease in this region,” explains Professor Alzaabi, who is the head of the respiratory division at Zayed Military Hospital. “At age 18, 42 per cent of study subjects were in the normal BMI range, but this drastically decreased to only 29 per cent at age 29. These shocking figures make us ask the difficult question of what happens during this critical timeframe to make the majority of young UAE men overweight or obese.”

The findings of the report call for public health initiatives in order to address the findings and to anticipate the future burden of diabetes and major cardiovascular disease for which these men are at high risk.

At age 18, 42 per cent of study subjects were in the normal BMI range, but this drastically decreased to only 29 per cent at age 29. These shocking figures make us ask the difficult question of what happens during this critical timeframe to make the majority of young UAE men overweight or obese.”

Professor Ashraf Hasan Humaidan Alzaabi

Recommendations

The report outlined a number of policy recommendations including educational measures directed at parents and schools to encourage children to eat healthily and to maintain their weight need to be established. It suggests that young adults need to be screened systematically for diabetes and cardio‐metabolic conditions, and when these are detected, lifestyle modifications or pharmacological management put in place.

“People with identified cardio‐metabolic risk factors need to be monitored closely and managed appropriately to prevent the occurrence of major cardiovascular events at a relatively young age,” the report concluded.

Young adults need to be screened systematically for diabetes and cardio‐metabolic conditions.