Obesity, vitamin D deficiency found among Biobank participants
March 14 2017 09:36 PM
The Biobank conference in progress in Doha on Tuesday. Picture: Shaji Kayamkulam

As many as 70% of the participants of the Qatar Biobank were diagnosed obese and another 86% found to be Vitamin D deficient, according to the annual report of Qatar Biobank which was released on Tuesday.
The findings were presented in the annual report for 2016 on the sidelines of the second annual conference. The report also includes a comprehensive health profile of the participants and long-term residents.
Dr. Nahla Afifi, scientific and education manager and acting director of Qatar Biobank, presented the findings at the conference held under the theme ‘The Impact of Biobanking on Precision Medicine Initiatives.'
According to the report, participant rates continued to increase with a marked growth expected in 2017. By the end of December 2016, Qatar Biobank had reached 6,475 participants and out of them, almost 80% (5,136) were Qatari.
The report says that Qatar as a nation has some of the highest levels of metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes mellitus within the region.
The data and samples collected from Qatar Biobank participants paint a worrying picture of the local population’s health, including both Qataris and long-term residents, the report notes.
“More than 70% of the population is either overweight or obese and nearly half of all men - 48% - are classified as obese. Furthermore, 83% of the population participate in little-or-no physical exercise, with 41% not participating in any physical exercise at all,” the report points out.
“Almost 16% of Qatar Biobank visitors were diagnosed with diabetes, and 86% are Vitamin D deficient. Additionally, over 45% of participants consume fast food more than three times a week. The Qatar Biobank sample cohort showed a low rate of smokers, with 39% of men and 4% of women reporting that they smoked,” the report highlights.
“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,” Dr Afifi said.
The report points out that people in Qatar are in the habit of high consumption of fast food, with over 45% of both men and women consuming fast food more than three times a week.

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