NYU Abu Dhabi Launches UAE Healthy Future Study

Emirati man and woman standing along the corniche.

Press Release

First of its kind national study to recruit 20,000 UAE Nationals in an effort to understand why obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are common in the UAE

Under the patronage of His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Advisor to the President of the United Arab Emirates, NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) today announced a first of its kind study aimed at building a healthier future for the UAE. Investigators from NYUAD and the NYU Langone Medical Center have collaborated with local partners in Abu Dhabi to conduct this long-term study.

Researchers are looking to recruit 20,000 UAE nationals between the ages of 18-40 to take part in the study, it was announced today at the launch event attended by His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Chairman of the board of the H.H Sheikh Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan Humanitarian & Scientific Foundation.

The UAE Healthy Future Study will enable a range of specialized physicians and scientists to understand the root cause of some of the nation’s most pressing questions on public health today. The study will seek to determine how the population of the UAE has come to have one of the highest rates of lifestyle diseases including obesity, diabetes and heart disease, in the world.

Those interested in participating can join the study by registering at the study assessment centers in Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi Blood Bank) and Al Ain (Al Ain Regional Blood Bank). Once participants have agreed to come on board they will be asked to complete a questionnaire, provide body measurements and samples of blood, urine, and saliva. Participants will then be observed over several years with follow-up online questionnaires and clinic visits in order to understand how important risk factors such as lifestyle, genes and environment are causing obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

Principal Investigator of the UAE Healthy Future Study and Director of the Public Health Research Center at NYU Abu Dhabi Dr. Raghib Ali said: “The UAE Healthy Future Study is the first study that provides the opportunity to understand why rates of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease are so high in the UAE. Based on the potential outcomes, we are working towards finding ways to prevent these diseases in the future.”

Brigadier Dr. Abdulla Al Naeemi, Head of Medical Department, Consultant Cardiologist, Zayed Military Hospital said, “The findings of this study will help us ensure that future generations of our country lead healthy and long lives. This is an important initiative and one that has the potential to build a healthy future for the society.”

Initiated in early 2014, the study will serve as a platform for researchers throughout the UAE and is being conducted in collaboration with Zayed Military Hospital, the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC), Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Blood Bank, Al Ain Regional Blood Bank, UAE University, Khalifa University, and Zayed University in Abu Dhabi.

At the core of this initiative is a collective effort towards building a healthier future for the UAE — a cause that physicians and scientists from across the nation are united in.

About NYU Abu Dhabi

NYU Abu Dhabi is the first comprehensive liberal arts and research campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university. NYU Abu Dhabi has integrated a highly selective undergraduate curriculum across the disciplines with a world center for advanced research and scholarship. The university enables its students in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities, and arts to succeed in an increasingly interdependent world and advance cooperation and progress on humanity’s shared challenges. NYU Abu Dhabi’s high-achieving students have come from over 115 countries and speak over 115 languages. Together, NYU's campuses in New York, Abu Dhabi, and Shanghai form the backbone of a unique global university, giving faculty and students opportunities to experience varied learning environments and immersion in other cultures at one or more of the numerous study-abroad sites NYU maintains on six continents.