A fifth of Emiratis in Dubai are diabetic, new survey reveals

Study by the Dubai Health Authority and Dubai Statistics Centre prompts call for urgent action to prevent condition

Close up nurse demonstrating insulin pen on finger
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The second phase of the Dubai Diabetes Survey has revealed that the prevalence of diabetes among Emiratis in Dubai has risen to 19 per cent.

The total of undiagnosed diabetes cases of Emiratis is 11 per cent and the rate of those Emiratis at the pre-diabetic stage is 18.6 per cent, according to the study.

The survey was conducted by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) in collaboration with the Dubai Statistics Centre. The results were based on 5,000 residents (both nationals and expats) above the age of 18.

The first phase of the study was conducted in 2009 and 2011 and only determined the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes in Dubai - which was found to be 11.6 per cent among Emiratis.


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The new survey also revealed that the prevalence of diabetes among expats in Dubai is 14.7 per cent, and the total prevalence of diabetes in Dubai is 15.2 per cent. The second phase results also revealed that the percentage of undiagnosed diabetes among expats in Dubai is 11.3 per cent, and the total percentage of undiagnosed diabetes in Dubai is 11.3 per cent.

The total rate of those at the pre-diabetes stage (high risk of developing diabetes) among expats is 15.5 per cent, while the overall rate of those at the pre-diabetes stage is around 16 per cent.

Dr Fatheya Al Awadi, chairwoman of DHA Diabetes Committee and head of the endocrinology department at Dubai Hospital, said the results were vital to establish an effective action plan that will help fulfill the UAE national strategy to reduce the prevalence of diabetes from 19 per cent (according to the International Diabetes Federation) to 16.4 per cent by 2021.

"There is a need to establish a robust prevention programme to help avoid pre-diabetes, and this is crucial in avoiding health complications related to diabetes in Dubai."

Dr Al Awadi also revealed that the authority is planning to establish a Dubai Diabetes Risk calculator that will allow residents and nationals to find out how high of a risk they have of becoming diabetic.