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Mon 23 Nov 2009 01:40 PM

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'Worrying' diabetes tests raise doubt on UAE's health

Four hundred volunteers who took part in diabetes screening tests were all overweight.

Every single volunteer who took part in a UAE Ministry of Health screening test for diabetes was found to be overweight – raising serious concerns about the state of the nation’s health.

Out of the 400 volunteers who took part in the tests at Mall of the Emirates in Dubai, every person weighed more than their recommended body mass index.

Sanofi-aventis, which conducted the tests along with the ministry, called the results “worrying” and said that the “volunteers were potentially at risk from diabetes or heart disease because of their higher than average weight/height ratio.” The firm did not release any details about the volunteers, like their ages, gender or height.

Jean-Marc Voissier, general manager, urged more to be done to educate people about healthy eating and exercise.

“The screening statistics are extremely worrying and we have to bring an end to this cycle of diabetes.

“We need education, education and more education,” he said.

The tests also found that one in ten volunteers had high blood sugar levels, while one in seven had high blood pressure.

Nearly one in five UAE residents suffers from diabetes, a number which rises to two in five for the over 60s – a figure which last year ranked the UAE the second highest in the world per capital.

“Around 20% of people in this country are suffering with diabetes and much of that is due to diet and lack of exercise,” said Dr Mahmoud Fikri, CEO Health Policies Affairs, and chairman of the National Board of Diabetes Control,

“These screening days are as much about awareness as they are about detection. It’s a great initiative, but these results are obviously of great concern,” he said.

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Big Daddy 10 years ago

Do you have any more details on the 400 volunteers? What nationality, gender, age were they? I know that we are living in fatty times, but are they saying that every person that they tested wandering around a shopping mall tested to be obese? Every single one?

Amira Smith 10 years ago

I love the notion that Sanofi Aventis- a company that derives a significant portion of its revenue from peddling drugs for diabetes and hypertension - is spouting off about needing to cut incidence. If we really did cut the incidence of diabetes, no one would feel it more than the pharmaceutical industry. This exercise is basically the equivalent of ambulance-chasing; with sanofi-aventis trailing the malls to drum up some new patients. It's about as moral as B&H fronting a 'no-smoking' campaign. Please.

RESIDENT IN KUWAIT 10 years ago

The results do not suprise me at all. They said the 400 persons were verweight based on BMI. A BMI greater than 25 = overweight ! I am 6'-2" tall and weighh 195# and I have a BMI of 26 and am overweight too ! The people wtih high BP and high sugar should thank them.

R. VENKATARAMAN 10 years ago

It is high time for us to buy the shares in the Pharmaceutical Cos. which are manufacturing drugs for diabetic. It is not the education and lack of awareness of this problem. It is people are just taking it easy, and when any problem struct them, they will attend to it. Moreover, the problem is the high cost of going to the Doctors and the medicines, prevents people from attending to this problem. As a matter of fact, I am a diabetic for the last 20 years, and hardly I go to the Doctor for check-up; I just consume 2 or 3 Dianils per day, with a couple of Neurobion and Vitamin C Tablets, which I bring from India, when I go on annual holidays. Even the Ministry of Health here also only talks about this, but they are just not sincere in attending to this; they just want publicity by talking about this, and conducting some free medical camps (which are normally sponsored by some Pharma Cos). If the MOH is really sincere, when they conduct the Medical check up for the visa renewals, they should provide a complete health file for all those who are screened and checked; if they find blood/urine sugar high, and if they are really caring for the people, they should provide free medicines at least for one year for all of them, as they are collecting substantial amount for the medical examination. In the present world, everybody talks about the problems just for the sake of talking and for gaining some publicity, (similar to eradicating poverty, environment cautious, Palestine / Middle East problem, etc. etc.) but nobody is serious about solving any problem.

Pradeep Naik 10 years ago

Not only UAE, now India is also concerned about Diabeties. Me too having this sweet disease, but I handle it with my mind control, doing regular meditation, focusing on control on diabetes, taking natural medicines such as 1Cucumber+1Tamoto+1 biter gourd juice eveery morning, keeping me fit, taking few dry fruits like almonds, cashew on daily basis. Important: controlled food not necessary only sweet but avoid rice, fry food, & sweet fruits. Forget country or doctors you take care of self, no one will come to rescue when you & your family will have any problems. None of these check up & marathon walks will help you, go for a brisk walk every day & keep doctors away. Eat sweet have fun...

Dr Saeed Mahar 10 years ago

Obesity is on rise in every part of the world but especially in Gulf region especially due to life style changes.We all need to controll weight and spread the message of healty living styles if we want to prevent our nation from chronic problems like Diabetes,Hypertension,Heart diseases and joint problems.Prevention is better than cure.

Sue 10 years ago

So what, if anything are the UAE doing to address this issue? I found some amazing products for keeping insulin cool outside the fridge for 2 days, and they are available here in UAE now. Look up this site www.aimsmena.com for more information.

Annie Smith 10 years ago

Anyone who is concerned about diabetes should try to walk 10 minutes after each meal -- it does not have to be a brisk walk --just keep active, don't sit down for 10 minutes after every meal and that, along with other things helps quite a bit.