OBJECTIVES: The prevalence of diabetes has reportedly increased among adolescents in low-income and middle-income countries of the Middle East and may be linked to social, demographic and economic contextual factors. This study aimed: (1) to estimate the prevalence of self-reported diagnosis of diabetes in the adolescent population of the United Arab Emirates (UAE); (2) to assess differences in the prevalence based on gender and (3) to identify other characteristics of those with diabetes including parental marital status, smoking/illegal drug use, quality of life and nationality.
DESIGN: A secondary data analysis was performed on data from the National Study of Population Health in the UAE, conducted between 2007 and 2009.
SETTING: Large cross-sectional population-based survey study.
PARTICIPANTS: Survey was administered to a stratified random sample of 151 public and private schools from the UAE, across 7 emirates. 6365 school-attending adolescents (12-22 years; mean=16 years) participated.
OUTCOMES: Multivariable logistic regression analysis was used to examine the relationships between diabetes diagnosis and characteristics of participants after adjusting for confounding from other predictors.
RESULTS: The overall prevalence of self-reported diabetes was 0.9% (95% CI 0.7% to 1.2%) and was higher in males 1.5% (95% CI 1.0% to 2.1%) than females 0.5% (95% CI 0.3% to 0.8%), (p<0.001). Children of parents who were not currently married had more than twice the odds of self-reporting diabetes (p=0.031) compared with those with married parents. Adolescents who reported ever smoking/using illegal drugs had more than three times the odds of diabetes (p<0.001).
CONCLUSION: We found a positive association between certain characteristics of adolescents and their diabetes status, including male gender, parental marital status and smoking/illegal drug use. The high prevalence of smoking/illegal drug use among those reporting a diagnosis of diabetes suggests the need for behavioural and mental health interventions for adolescents with diabetes, as well as strong parental support and involvement.
- Cross-Sectional Studies
- Diabetes Mellitus/epidemiology
- Quality of Life
- Risk Factors
- United Arab Emirates/epidemiology