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."
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.”
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.