Policies keep diabetics’ numbers steady
dubai — Diabetes incidence among Emiratis in Dubai remains at a steady 19 per cent, revealed numbers from the second phase of the Dubai Diabetes Survey.
It also revealed that prevalence of diabetes among expats in Dubai is 14.7 per cent and total diabetes prevalence in Dubai is 15.2 per cent (taking into account both Emiratis and expats).
Officials said that though there was no increase in the number of locals with diabetes due to the success of recent health policies, it also meant that further action plans were needed to bring down the levels to the targeted 16.4 per cent by 2021.
On Tuesday, officials of Dubai Health Authority (DHA) said that the numbers had not increased and also matched the the International Diabetes Federation’s (IDF) survey in 2012.
“Having no change in incidence is a good sign, as it shows that government strategies and programmes that aim to encourage the adoption of healthy lifestyles may be working to control and prevent diabetes in Dubai,” said Dr Fatheya Al Awadi, chair of DHA Diabetes Committee and head of the Endocrinology Department at Dubai Hospital.
She also said the results are vital to establish an effective action plan that will help fulfill the UAE national strategy to reduce the prevalence of diabetes to 16.4 per cent by 2021.
The survey also revealed that the total percentage of undiagnosed diabetes in Emiratis is 11 per cent and pre-diabetic (high risk of developing diabetes) Emiratis is 18.6 per cent.
The percentage of undiagnosed diabetes among expats in Dubai is 11.3 per cent and the total percentage of undiagnosed diabetes in Dubai 11.3 per cent. Meanwhile, the total rate of those in the prediabetic stage among expats is 15.5 per cent and the total rate of the total pre-diabetic population is around 16 per cent.
Explaining the unchanged numbers, Dr Fatheya added that factors might include the increased child birth rate over death rates in Dubai (as recent annual population growth has averaged 7.7 per cent and is considered among the highest in the world).
She said the vast majority — 64.3 per cent — of the Dubai population are below the age of 35, making them at a low risk for diabetes, with younger people less likely to have diabetes. “As the population ages, they might move from low risk to high risk, which is why preventive programmes need to be put in place now,” she added.
Humaid Al Qattami, Chairman of the Board and Director-General of the DHA, said the UAE and Dubai in specific exert great effort to reduce diabetes prevalence, in order to deter the risks it has on individual and community health.
He said that the authority has adopted many preventive and treatment programmes to fight diabetes, in addition to providing the best health services to diabetic patients through state-of-the-art services, the latest medications and quality healthcare.
Humaid Al Qattami reveals the results of the Dubai Diabetes Survey on Tuesday. A DHA official said the results are vital to establish an action plan to fight the disease.