The prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in the United Arab Emirates: Justification for the establishment of the Emirates Family Registry

Habiba Alsafar, Khadra A. Jama-Alol, Ahmed A.K. Hassoun, Guan K. Tay

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29 Scopus citations


To study the prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) in a population of United Arab Emirates (UAE) residents through the creation of the "Emirates Family Registry" (EFR). Major hospitals and diabetes centres in the UAE were contacted to establish a bio-banking facility referred to as the EFR. Through assistance made available by the Ministry of Health and collaborators of this network, demographic data of T2DM patients were collected and collated in a database for analysis and longitudinal studies. Clinical specimens were collected for biochemical profiling (such as; glucose, lipids, HbA 1c levels). In the first 24 months of the operation the EFR recruited 23,064 adult volunteers from three major hospitals and nine primary care centres throughout the UAE. Within this cohort, 88% were patients classified as T2DM patients from the medical records. The cohort was divided into age categories with 59% of T2DM patients aged between 40 and 59 years old. UAE nationals comprised 30% of the database of which 21% were diagnosed with T2DM. However the percentage of adults with T2DM was higher in other ethnic groups effecting almost 33% of the Indians who live in the UAE. A total of 741 UAE Nationals consented to donate blood; in phase I of the study; for biochemical testing after which 23% were diagnosed with T2DM, 30% with pre-T2DM and 47% were healthy. This study is consistent with the previously reported high prevalence of T2DM in the UAE. Furthermore, analyses of the factors that predispose to the disease have revealed that obesity, a large waist circumference, consanguineous marriage, family history, lack of physical activity, unhealthy dietary practices, high total cholesterol, and high triglycerides levels were more prevalent in T2DM patients. The classification of these features will contribute to defining more effective and specific plans to screen for and manage diabetes and its complications in UAE and other developing countries.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)25-32
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Journal of Diabetes in Developing Countries
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2012


  • Arab
  • Emirates Family Registry
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • UAE


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