CATHERINE W GICHUKI
More than 70 percent of the population in Qatar is either overweight or obese and nearly half of all men ” 48 percent ” are obese, according to a new report.
The Qatar Biobank annual report for 2016 released on Tuesday includes a comprehensive health profile of more than 5,000 Qatari participants and long-term residents.
The report shows 83 percent of the population does little or no physical exercise, with 41 percent not doing any physical activity at all.
Almost 16 percent of Qatar Biobank visitors were diagnosed with diabetes, while 86 percent were found to be suffering from Vitamin D deficiency.
More than 45 percent of participants consume fast food more than three times a week.
The Qatar Biobank sample cohort 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 were breast, cervical, and thyroid for women, and prostate and bladder for men.
Presenting the findings at the Qatar Biobank Conference, Qatar Biobank Scientific and Education Manager and Acting Director Dr Nahla Afifi said,"By generating a comprehensive picture of the environmental, genetic and lifestyle factors that contribute to health issues facing the local population, we can begin to help researchers and healthcare providers make better diagnoses and provide better treatments for diseases affecting the health of 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 of both registering in the 25-34 age-group.
The mean age of the participants was 39 years with the youngest being 18 years old and the oldest 85 years old.
Dr Asmaa al Thani said more than 40 percent of the participants were discovered to have abnormalities and were referred to Hamad Medical Corporation for medical advice.
"Most of them have abnormal bone density (22 percent) and dyslipidemia (18 percent)," she said.
She added they are working closely with Sidra to create a custom-made bioinformatics which will provide scientists or researchers with materials.
She said the last phase of the Qatar Genome Survey will be for the decision makers."We will find out how they can support the Qatar Genome in the future."
The pilot phase of the Qatar Genome Programme (QGP), which will see 6,000 genomes sequenced, will end in June 2017. The second phase (Biobank phase) will see 20,000 to 30,000 genomes sequenced.
Qatar Biobank Scientific and Education Manager and Acting Director Dr Nahla Afifi presented the findings at the Qatar Biobank Conference, themed 'The Impact of Biobanking on Precision Medicine Initiatives' at Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC).
Qatar Biobank will continue to collect samples from Qataris and long-term residents to facilitate vital medical research that will enable better healthcare diagnosis and outcomes, and in turn a healthier population.
Manager of Qatar Genome Programme Dr Said Ismail said,"This is a national programme with a comprehensive vision to prepare Qatar for the age of precision medicine."