Cardiovascular disease and diabetes are extremely common in the UAE and throughout the Arab World. While cohort studies have made tremendous contributions to scientific knowledge of the epidemiology and determinants of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, none have been done in Arab populations. To study the causes of these diseases and other diseases common to Emirates, we have established a prospective cohort study, the UAE Healthy Future Study.
As the first prospective cohort study in the United Arab Emirates, the UAE Healthy Future Study will provide unique and substantive evidence for both lifestyle and genetic determinants of common diseases in the UAE population.
It will be a resource for researchers throughout the UAE and the wider region with data accessible for all research which will be of benefit to the local population.
We have developed our protocol in collaboration with a number of partners including Zayed Military Hospital, the Abu Dhabi Blood Bank, the Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC), UAE University, and Zayed University.
In order to finalize the cohort study procedures, a pilot study was conducted on 500 participants. This experience and data have been used to refine our protocol prior to beginning recruitment of the full cohort, which began in 2015. Recruitment for the main study and baseline analyses are expected to be completed by the end of the spring of 2021.
This large, population-based cohort study acts as an ‘umbrella’ in that it will enable many research questions to be answered, primarily those looking for associations between exposures (such as physical activity) and outcomes (like Diabetes Mellitus and CVD).
Four Centers currently exist to interpret and analyze the data from the UAE Healthy Future Study:
UAE Nationals 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.