Mixed Results in UAE Survey

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Fraser Clarke

The results of the United Arab Emirates’ National Health Survey have been released, with adult diabetes rates dropping, but more people than ever living with high blood pressure.

More than 9,000 residents from a range of nationalities living in the Emirates took part in the study, with data then compared with figures recorded in 2010. Contrary to the expectations of many, these actually showed an improvement in the nation’s health generally, whilst public satisfaction with the healthcare system hit a record high of 96%.

According to the statistics, the number of adults with diabetes in the country has dropped dramatically from 18.9% in 2010 to 11.8% this year. Likewise cholesterol rates in adults have also dropped - from 57.6% to 43.7%.

Furthermore the prevalence of obesity also recorded a notable decrease - dropping just under 10% to 27.8%, although this figure still remains some way above the global average.

It wasn’t all positive however, with the number of adults suffering from high blood pressure almost doubling from 14.7% in 2010, to 28.8% by 2019. A range of reasons from stress to unhealthy lifestyle choices have been given for this, with the country’s health ministry now considering passing legislation that will reduce salt and sugar levels in unhealthy foods.

Speaking while presenting the results of the survey, Dr Hussain Al Rand, assistant undersecretary for Health Centres and Clinics at the Health Ministry, said: “While stress and poor lifestyle are factors that contribute to the rise in blood pressure, all other health parameter averages have gone down. 

“This proves that the younger generation is greatly aware of its health and more youngsters are getting their blood pressure checked and recorded. This was not a trend previously.”

Whilst Abdul Rahman bin Mohamed Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, added: “The outcome of this survey will help update the results of several strategic health indicators and promote programmes of national health planning and policies, in addition to achieving UAE Vision 2021 and the objectives of Sustainable Development 2030.”

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