Figures from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) revealed that, in 2015, 19.3%, almost one in five people, of the UAE population between the ages of 20 and 79 have type 2 diabetes. In 2015, there were over 1 million people living with diabetes in the UAE, placing the country 13th worldwide for age-adjusted comparative prevalence. It is important to note that diabetes is a regional affliction with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar all featuring in the top fifteen countries in terms of prevalence worldwide. One of the key areas of our research at Imperial College London Diabetes Centre is to develop an understanding about the high prevalence of diabetes and obesity in the UAE and wider region. This will enable us to create a strategy around prevention and cure of these conditions.
Trends in 2015 also indicate that the prevalence of diabetes in the UAE is rising at a faster rate than both the MENA region and the rest of the world. Rapid economic growth, sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy diets characteristic to the UAE are all risk factors, leading to the number of people with diabetes expecting to double to 2.2 million by 2040. However, an increasing population and a greater understanding of the condition among the communities have also contributed to the increase in patients diagnosed with diabetes.