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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 57-65

The prevalence and risk factors of obesity in the United Arab Emirates


1 Statistics and Research Centre, Ministry of Health and Prevention, King Saud Bin Abdul Aziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2 Statistics and Research Centre, Ministry of Health and Prevention; College of Public Health and Health Informatics, King Saud Bin Abdul Aziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
3 Research Institute of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE

Correspondence Address:
Ahmad Qawas
Statistics and Research Centre, Ministry of Health and Prevention, King Saud Bin Abdul Aziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh
Saudi Arabia
Hira Abdul Razzak
Statistics and Research Centre, Ministry of Health and Prevention, Sheikh Muhammed Bin Zayed Road, Muhaisna Area 2 1853
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/sjo.sjo_9_17

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Obesity is a global epidemic, preventable, and a disease of clinical and public health significance. It has emerged as a major risk factor for the development of disability, several other noncommunicable diseases, and premature death. This review summarized epidemiological studies related to the obesity prevalence and identified its potential risk factors among the Arab population in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). PubMed, Scopus, ScienceDirect database, and other local journals were searched to identify relevant literature by means of appropriate keywords to retrieve studies conducted in the UAE. Search limits were restricted to studies in English language, between 2007 and 2016, and on the UAE population (both citizens and expatriates). The search yielded 15 studies regarding the prevalence and risk factors of obesity, including cross-sectional studies (n = 11), a population-based survey (n = 1), a retrospective cohort study (n = 1), and qualitative focus group surveys (n = 2). Cross-sectional studies found that the prevalence of obesity ranged between 16 and 28.4%, with a higher proportion of adult females being more obese than males in UAE. This increasing obesity prevalence places a large burden on healthcare costs and usage. Furthermore, some potentially essential risk factors were identified, which would help to guide future research strategies. This review signifies a promptly increasing obesity prevalence in the UAE and suggests that extra effort is needed for preventive and curative strategies to reduce the burden of this common condition.


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