QATAR’S diabetes incidence rate is higher than the global figure and that of most countries in the Gulf region according to the World Health Survey, the Qatar Primary Health Care 2008 conference was told yesterday.
“The survey showed that 12% of the adults in Qatar were diabetic as against 4% worldwide and 7% in the neighbouring UAE for example,” National Health Authority’s public health director Dr Gail Fraser Chanpong said.
Another 10% of adults in Qatar were found to be pre-diabetic with elevated blood sugar levels in the survey which covered 29,338 people in 4,800 households during April and May 2006, in the first such exercise in a GCC country.
“A family health survey conducted in 1998 had indicated that 8% of adults in Qatar had diabetes,” recalled the speaker while referring to the increase in the number of diabetics between the two surveys.
Insufficient physical activity is cited as one of the main causes of diabetes in Qatar where less than 30% of adults were of normal weight and 20% of children under five were overweight, a pattern similar to the other Gulf countries as well.
The World Health Survey (WHS), which provides comprehensive baseline information on the health of populations and on the outcomes associated with the investment in health systems and their functioning, had revealed that cardiovascular diseases were the leading cause of death in Qatar like elsewhere in the world.
“This was followed by fatalities in road traffic accidents and those due to cancer,” explained Dr Chanpong.
A total of 13% of Qataris and 15% of expatriates were found to be hypertensive.
Breast cancer among women topped the list of cancers, accounting for 20% of all new cancer cases, followed by 12% of colorectal cancer. There were 543 new cancer cases in 2007 as against 529 in 2006.
Statistics on smoking showed 25% of young men and 5% of women in Qatar were smokers, with the percentage of women smokers increasing in the above 50 age group.
“The information obtained from the WHS allows for identification of key areas for disease prevention,” the official observed.
Dr Chanpong announced that Qatar would conduct surveys with special focus areas next year.
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