A new report analyzing the health data of some 5,000 Qataris and longterm residents has painted a grim picture of the nation’s population as overweight, inactive and lacking Vitamin D.
The data, which the Qatar Biobank began collecting five years ago, found that more than 70 percent of the population is either overweight and obese.
Additionally, 83 percent get little to no regular physical exercise. And more than 45 percent of those surveyed said they consume fast food more than three times a week.
Also, a whopping 86 percent of people have been diagnosed with Vitamin D deficiency.
The 2016 report was presented at a conference this week.
The health data was comprised almost equally of men and women, the majority of whom were 25 to 34 years old.
According to the biobank, more than 80 percent of those who submitted blood and other samples were unaware of any health problems.
Some 16 percent were diagnosed with diabetes, and more than 40 percent of those studied were referred to Hamad Medical Corp. for medical advice after abnormalities were found.
That said, Dr. Nahla Afifi, the biobank’s acting director, said the data has spurred her organization to expand its mandate beyond conducting research.
In a statement, she said:
“Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and diabetes are emerging as significant health problems and are now the major cause of death and disability in Qatar…
(The biobank now) also plays an important role in early identification and prompt treatment of chronic non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, which will reduce the future burden in health sector.”
Previously, the biobank said it aims to collect 60,000 samples by 2018–2019.
Individuals who participate are asked to fill out a questionnaire and provide blood, saliva and urine samples.
Researchers also record a volunteer’s height, weight and blood pressure during the process, which takes approximately three hours. All the data is kept confidential.
Participants must be above the age of 18 and either be a Qatari national or have resided in the country for at least 15 years.