Dubai: Over 30 per cent of deaths occurred due to heart disease and more than 36 per cent of men and 30 per cent of women in Dubai are overweight, with 11.9 per cent people being obese, a health survey announced on Tuesday said.

It said 19.6 per cent Emirati men and 18.5 per cent of Emirati women suffer from high cholesterol. These findings and more are part of the health survey results conducted in the emirate to monitor the impact of chronic non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipaedemia and depression on the health of both nationals and expatriates in Dubai.

Outcomes of the survey will not only serve as a template to shape Dubai’s health strategy but also serve to support the Key Performance Indicators for the National Health Agenda 2021 which aims to cut back on smoking, obesity, diabetes and also increase the average life expectancy of people.

The survey, conduted by the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) in collaboration with the Dubai Statistics Centre, is conducted once every five years. The first was conducted in 2009 and the second at the end of 2014 covering 3,298 families of nationals and expatriates. This second demographic health survey will help health authorities revise and tweak its health strategy based on the results.

The survey interviewed over 13,290 individuals, from both genders from the age group of 18 to 60-plus representing these families and included questions on the daily frequency of vegetable and fruit intake, smoking habit, meat eating habits, physical fitness levels and the incidence of lifestyle disease.

A new category of questions were added to gauge the health of elderly Emiratis in the 60 plus category. Of the sample population interviewed, 14.7 per cent suffered from high cholesterol, and 27.4 per cent suffer from hypertension.

The survey also found that many elderly Emirati, 35 per cent, require help in taking part in daily activities. Also, 16.4 per cent require help bathing, 14 per cent require help in changing clothes and 8.1 per cent need help eating.

“Statistics are not enough, it is important to analyse these,” said Humaid Al Qutami, chairman of the Board and director-general of DHA.

He added: “Compiling such information is important as it is will guide the authority in creating its future strategies and plan effective initiatives, that aim to find solutions and raise awareness about relevant health issues in Dubai,”

The Dubai Health Survey is following the guidelines of the World Health Organsiation which is working towards reduction in the levels of lifestyle diseases by 2020 and also partnering with Dubai Municipality and other stakeholders in the emirate.

Dr Manal Al Taryam, director of DHA’s primary health centres, said: “We want to use these results to design our goals and Key Peformance Indicators. So far, our focus in primary health has been a reduction in the incidence of smoking, non communicable diseases such as CVDs, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, as also a greater emphasis on vaccinations to reduce the burden of communcicable diseases as well.”

Tareq Yousuf Al Janahi, deputy executive director of the Dubai Statistics Centre, said the study is of great significance as it provides information about the health of the people of Dubai — which was not available before — giving policy makers a clearer picture about the health issues that need to be tackled.