Obesity in the United Arab Emirates
The results of this study show that over two thirds of the population was either obese or overweight. The analysis also proved that most of the population (65%) was at risk and out of that 44% had a substantially increased risk of metabolic complications. Compared to earlier UAE reports the rates confirm that the problem is increasing in the UAE over time, and therefore constitutes a major public health problem in the UAE. Except for educational level the results show a statistically significant positive relationship between prevalence of obesity and most socio-demographic characteristics such as age, monthly income, marital status, and number of children, especially among women. Half of females were found to fall in the substantially increased risk group (49%) compared to males (35%) and at higher risk of co-morbidity associated with obesity. The results were similar to those reported elsewhere in the Arabian Gulf region, but were paradoxical to Europe where the rates were higher among males. A positive association between childhood obesity and obesity in later life and a highly statistically significant association between a history of parental obesity and the obese group were revealed. The results also show that of the total surveyed population 28% complained of back pain, followed by osteoarthritis (18%), hypertension (15%), type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (15%), hyper-lipidaemia (11%), depression (5%) and heart diseases (3%). About one half of the total of surveyed adults and, from that about a half of the obese population were incorrect in their perceptions about self-image and body perception. In contrast, the correct answers were higher among the normal group (48%) compared to the obese (19%). Only 47% of the total population were absolutely correct about the real causes of obesity.