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Qatar Biobank Finds Increased Obesity, Vitamin D Deficiency in Local Population

On the sidelines of its second annual conference, Qatar Biobank released its annual report for 2016, which includes a comprehensive health profile of more than 5,000 Qatari participants and long-term residents.

Dr Nahla Afifi, Scientific and Education Manager and Acting Director of Qatar Biobank, presented the findings at the Qatar Biobank Conference held under the theme ‘The Impact of Biobanking on Precision Medicine Initiatives’ at Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC). Data and samples collected from Qatar Biobank participants paint a concerning picture of the local population’s health, both Qataris and long-term residents.

More than 70 percent of the population is either overweight or obese and nearly half of all men—48 percent—are classified as obese. Furthermore, 83 percent of the population participate in little-or-no physical exercise, with 41 percent not participating in any physical exercise at all. Almost 16 percent of Qatar Biobank visitors were diagnosed with diabetes, and 86 percent are Vitamin D deficient. Over 45 percent of participants consume fast food more than three times a week.

The Qatar Biobank sample also showed a low rate of smokers, with 39 percent of men and 4 percent of women reporting that they smoked. Other findings show the most prominent types of cancers within the Qatar Biobank population were breast, cervical, and thyroid for women, and prostate and bladder for men.

Dr Afifi said that by generating a comprehensive picture of the environmental, genetic and lifestyle factors that contribute to health issues facing the local population, the Biobank can begin to help researchers and healthcare providers make better diagnoses and provide better treatments for diseases affecting Qatar’s population.

The demographic data obtained from the registration process shows that a similar number of men (51%) and women (49%) participated, with the highest number from both sexes registering in the 25-34 age group. The mean age of the participants was 39 years, with the youngest registered at 18 years old and the oldest, 85 years.

Qatar Biobank, a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), will continue to collect biological samples from Qataris and long-term residents to facilitate vital medical research and enable better healthcare diagnosis and outcomes.

For more information about Qatar Biobank, please visit: www.qatarbiobank.org.qa/home

Hamad Bin Khalifa University HBKU
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