Assessment of Dietary Practice Among Diabetic Patients in the United Arab Emirates

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The Review of Diabetic Studies,2008,5,2,110-115.
Published:August 2008
Type:Original Article
Author(s) affiliations:

Juma Al-Kaabi1, Fatma Al-Maskari2, Hussein Saadi1, Bachar Afandi3, Hasratali Parkar3 and Nicolaas Nagelkerke2

1Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UAE University, Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates.

2Department of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UAE University, Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates.

3JHMI-Tawam Hospital, Al-Ain, United Arab Emirates


Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess dietary practices and risk profile (hypertension, obesity, lipid profile and glycemic control) among people with diabetes in Al-Ain District, United Arab Emirates (UAE). Methods: During 2006, we performed a cross-sectional study of diabetic patients attending diabetic outpatient clinics at Tawam Hospital and primary health care centers in Al-Ain District. Subjects completed an interviewer-administered questionnaire, blood pressure, body mass index, percentage body fat and abdominal circumference were measured and recorded and the most recent HbA1c levels and fasting lipid profile were identified. Results: A sample of 409 diabetic patients was recruited, 50% of whom were illiterate. Only 24% read food labeling. 76% reported being unable to distinguish clearly between low and high carbohydrate index food items and no one reported counting calorie intake. 46% reported that they had never been seen by dietician since their diagnosis. Their overall risk profile, notably body weight, lipid profile and blood pressure, was very unfavorable; more than half of the study sample had uncontrolled hypertension and uncontrolled lipid profile and the majority was overweight (36%) or obese (45%). Abdominal obesity was particularly common (59%). Only 31% had an HbA1c of less than 7%. Conclusion: The dietary practices of diabetic patients in the UAE are inadequate and need improvement.