The UAE Healthy Future Study — a collaborative prospective observational cohort study among UAE nationals.
It has long been known that the UAE has some of the highest rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease in the world but the reasons for this are unclear. Until now there have been no studies done in the UAE or the region which can give us reliable answers as to why these diseases are so common. Now, for the first time, investigators from the leading universities and hospitals in the UAE have come together to find out why by setting up the UAE Healthy Future Study. The UAE Healthy Future Study seeks to determine how the health of 20,000 UAE national men and women, currently aged 18 to 40 is affected by their lifestyle, environment and genes, specifically looking at risk factors for obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
This study will help us to find out:
Why are obesity, diabetes and heart disease so common in the UAE?
What is the relative importance of our genes, lifestyle (including diet, physical activity and tobacco use) and the environment in causing these diseases?
What can be done to prevent these diseases in the future?
To answer these questions reliably, long-term studies are needed which follow thousands of people over many years to see how their lifestyle and environment affects the risk of developing these diseases — these are called cohort studies. Previous cohort studies showed that smoking causes lung cancer; high blood pressure and cholesterol cause heart attacks and strokes, etc.
The study is being led by investigators from NYUAD working in collaboration with the leading universities and hospitals in the UAE including UAE University, Zayed Military Hospital SEHA (Abu Dhabi Blood Bank), Zayed University, Khalifa University, Healthpoint Hospital, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, and Higher Colleges of Technology. This level of collaboration is unprecedented in the UAE and is helping to build capacity for population health research throughout the UAE and is one of the major accomplishments of the PHRC.
The results of this study will provide a key evidence base for implementing the most effective health interventions and policies. It will be a national resource for the UAE, enabling researchers and policy makers to help build a healthier society for generations to come.