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Tackling diabetes through lifestyle changes

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submitted on 2023-08-09, 08:22 and posted on 2023-09-26, 12:59 authored by Nature Research

The high incidence of type II diabetes in Qatar is largely due to demographic and lifestyle factors and could therefore be substantially reduced with appropriate interventions, according to a new collaborative study by research teams in Doha and New York . Type II diabetes mellitus (DM) is a lifelong condition that causes dangerously high blood sugar levels. It is a leading cause of disability and death throughout the world, but risk factors for the condition in the Qatari population are poorly understood. In the first study of its kind conducted in Qatar, Paul J. Christos of Weill Cornell Medical College in New York and his colleagues collected medical data from 459 patients diagnosed with diabetes and 342 control patients, in order to assess DM risk factors. All of the study participants had been admitted to outpatient clinics and inpatient departments at the Hamad Medical Corporation in Doha between 2006 and 2008. Their results showed that being a Qatari national is associated with an approximately fivefold increase in risk for DM compared to the rest of the Qatar resident population. Being male and obese also increased risk for DM, as did having a higher monthly income, lower level of educational attainment, and lower levels of physical activity. Diabetes is rapidly growing in the developing world, with about 80% of all cases occurring there now. The results are consistent with recent findings showing that the incidence of diabetes is particularly high in North Africa and the Middle East with 11% of 20- to 79-year-olds in the region having the condition. Qatar has one of the highest prevalence in the world, about threefold the global average. Although there are some genetic factors, this is attributed largely to rapid economic growth and the increased adoption of Western lifestyle habits, especially an increased intake of calorie-rich foods and physical inactivity. The study demonstrates that these factors outweigh genetic risk factors for diabetes, and thus emphasise the need to focus on short-term interventions to address them. Such interventions, if effective, could substantially reduce DM levels in Qatar. “As a first step, the Qatari government should conduct nationally-representative large-scale community-based surveys at the household level to investigate barriers to the engagement of a healthier lifestyle, such as the reasons for physical inactivity and higher rates of obesity,” says Christos. “Such data could help to justify the need for specific intervention programmes that could help to achieve substantial reductions in DM levels in the population of Qatar.”

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Published in: Highlights, Published by Nature Research for Hamad bin Khalifa University Press (HBKU Press)



  • English


Nature Research

Publication Year

  • 2015

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This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

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  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University

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