In global obesity rankings Qatar sits uncomfortably at 15, with an estimated 35.1% obesity in the population, and as of 2013, 16% of the adult population in Qatar was diagnosed with diabetes. Mortality from cerebrovascular diseases (CVD) in 2011-2013 was 8.3 per 100,000 for Qatari males and 4.1 per 100,000 for non-Qatari males aged 20-44 years. After the age of 45, CVD mortality rose significantly to 247 per 100,000 among Qatari males.
Sex differences in outcomes have been identified; women are older when they suffer stroke and have higher levels of disability and mortality than men. In fact, females were observed to have significantly higher prevalence of hypertension and diabetes mellitus.
Cardiovascular deaths in Qatar are found to be high as in other high-income countries. Stroke incidence is rising, although compared to the Middle Eastern region, incidence overall is mid-range but below incidence rates seen in the west. The proportion of deaths due to CVD is comparable to the proportion of deaths in the UAE, where CVD accounts for 30% of all deaths. However, when hospital discharge rates for CVD in Qatar are compared against other OECD countries, Qatar has a rate that is four times higher.
86% of strokes that occur in Qatar are ischemic stroke and TIAs. Among the causes small vessel disease was the most prevalent, perhaps related to the high rates in both males and females of hypertension and diabetes. This sedentary lifestyle of residents collected from smartphone data showed a lower step/day count for residents in Qatar compared to other countries with women in particular taking 38% less steps. This is likely due to the easy availability of household help, unavailability of socially acceptable fitness establishments and the desert climate. According to Dr Dr Yahia Z B Imam Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology, from WC Medicine and Qatar University, Qatar and its well funded medical system is focussed on addressing the modifiable risk factor of obesity. With an annual holiday dedicated to sports (the national sports day), dedicating female only days in gyms and fitness centres and placing a sugar tariff on soft drinks are the initial steps in the fight against obesity having success in Qatar.
Authors: Yahia Z Imam (1*), Saadat Kamran (1),Maher Saqqur (1), Faisal Ibrahim (1), Prem Chandra (3), Jon D Perkins (1), Rayaz A Malik (2), Naveed Akhtar (1), Salman Al-Jurdi (2), Dirk Deleu (1), Osama Elalamy (1), Yasir Osman (1) ,Gayane Malikyan (1), Hisham Elkhider (1), Suha Elmakk (1), Lubna ElSheikh (1), Noha Mhjob (1), MS Abdelmoneim (1), Nima Alkhawad (1), Ahmed Own (1), and Ashfaq Shuaib (4)
1 Neuroscience Institute, Hamad Medical Corporation. P.O. Box 3050, Doha, Qatar
2 Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar, Doha, Qatar
3 Medical Research Center, Hamad Medical Corporation, P. O. Box 3050, Doha, Qatar.
4 Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.