NYU Abu Dhabi’s UAE Healthy Future Study Moves Online in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

Press Release

The UAE Healthy Future Study (UAEHFS), in association with its Abu Dhabi partner Tamkeen, has shifted to online recruitment in response to the precautions set out by the UAE government to protect public health and limit the spread of the coronavirus. The long-term study, launched at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) in 2017, aims to determine the causes of common chronic diseases in the country’s national population.

Study volunteers now have the opportunity to participate through an online-based platform instead of physically visiting clinics to register. Participants are now able to join the study, provide online consent, and complete the study questionnaire with just a click of a button.

The study seeks to determine how the health of 20,000 UAE nationals, aged 18-40, is affected by their lifestyle, environment, and genes, specifically looking at risk factors for obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease, including genetic, microbial and biochemical factors.

Director of the Public Health Research Center at NYUAD and Principal Investigator of the study, Raghib Ali commented: “The UAE Healthy Future Study is the first study of its kind here in the UAE and will help us to understand why rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease are so high amongst Emiratis, and most importantly how we can prevent them in the future."


"With our shift to an online model, Emirati nationals between the age of 18 and 40 are now able to take part from the convenience of their homes and help us to build a healthier future for them, their families and generations to come.”

Director of the Public Health Research Center at NYUAD Raghib Ali

While the world’s population endures the COVID-19 pandemic, the study will also help NYUAD’s researchers to understand both the risk factors for the disease amongst Emiratis, and how their behavior and habits are changing in response to the pandemic. 

Ali added: “Obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart diseases are common amongst the UAE national population and these diseases increase the risks of poor outcomes with COVID-19. By taking part in the UAE Healthy Future study you can help to reduce the incidence of such diseases for future generations.”


“The UAE Healthy Future Study, a national cohort study, is now providing a great opportunity for Emiratis to participate online in order to assist us in developing better prevention, diagnosis, and treatment strategies for the UAE."

Associate Director of the Public Health Research Center at NYUAD Abdishakur Abdulle

Associate Director of the Public Health Research Center at NYUAD Abdishakur Abdulle added: "This online recruitment approach is timely and will ideally encourage many participants to join the study from the comfort of their homes ensuring physical distancing to limit the spread of the coronavirus.”  

Participants will be asked to answer questions about their education, health and lifestyle, including diet, physical activity and tobacco use, personal health and medical history, as well as early life and family history. To participate in the UAE Healthy Future study, please visit the website.

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.