south asian women who live in uae more at risk for diabetes
Last Updated : GMT 07:25:12
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Last Updated : GMT 07:25:12
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South Asian women who live in UAE more at risk for diabetes

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Arab Today, arab today South Asian women who live in UAE more at risk for diabetes

South Asian women
Abu Dhabi - ArabToday

Expatriate women from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh who are susceptible to diabetes are almost three times at higher risk of developing the disease after moving to UAE than in their home countries, a new study has found.
A total of 599 expat women from South Asia, the Philippines and the Middle East living in Al Ain took part in the Prevalence of Diabetes among Migrant Women and Duration of Residence in the UAE study, carried out by UAE University.
Researchers found women from the sub-continent at higher risk of developing the disease compared to female expats from Arab countries and the Philippines.
Results showed 16.7 per cent of South Asian women who had lived in the UAE for ten years had type 2 diabetes, compared with 6 per cent outside of the country. Of Arab women who took part, 12.2 per cent had the condition compared with 4-8 per cent in their home countries.
"The majority of South Asians in the UAE migrate from rural areas in low-income developing countries and on moving to the UAE and living here for a number of years will most likely experience a change in the nutritional and physical activity environment. They walk around all the time in their countries but when they come here they have access to transportation," said Professor Syed Mahboob Shah, lead investigator of the study and associate professor at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences at UAEU.
In contrast, diabetes was lower in Filipino women who had lived in the UAE, just 1.7 per cent, than women living in the Philippines, 6 per cent.
Study results showed age plays a key factor in rates of diabetes among South Asian women, with those over the age of 40 three-and-a-half times more at risk of developing diabetes compared to younger compatriots.
A lack of regular physical exercise and an easily accessible and affordable high calorie diet compared to their home countries are thought to be at least partially to blame.
A similar study on diabetes in male expats is in progress.
In countries where physical activity is decreasing, people’s weight increases, which could lead to more cases of diabetes, said Dr Mahmoud Ben Baraka, consultant endocrinologist at HealthPlus Diabetes and Endocrinology Centre in Abu Dhabi.
"The prevalence of diabetes in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh is around 9 per cent. If you are in a rural area, your physical activity is usually more and your access to a calorie-dense diet will be less. Thus, the chance of getting diabetes will also be less,"said Dr Ben Baraka, adding that number is reduced to 3 per cent in rural areas.
However, environmental issues may not be entirely to blame as South Asians may also be genetically susceptible to diabetes, according to Dr Dinesh Dhanwal, consultant endocrinologist at NMC Specialty Hospital in Abu Dhabi.
The theory of foetal origin of adult diseases claims unfavourable conditions before birth and childhood predispose a person to increased risk of disease in adulthood.
"India was not so advanced 20-30 years ago, and if the birth weight was lower at that time, then this could be a possible link," said Dr Dhanwal. "With that genetic background and sedentary life and food availability, these genes become more active."
He advised South Asians over the age of 30 to be screened for diabetes and suggests lifestyle changes for patients who have pre-diabetes, including eating fewer carbohydrates, more proteins and fruits and vegetables while also exercising and walking after a meal.
There were 35 million people suffering from diabetes in the Middle East and North Africa in 2015, according the IDF. That number is expected to rise to 72 million by 2040.

Source: The National

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