UAE with Lowest Life Expectancy among Gulf Countries


Last week, an Arab Youth Survey said UAE is the most preferred country for living for Arab young people, but a new US study now shows apparent downsides to UAE wealth. UAE records the lowest life expectancy among comparable, Gulf countries with heart disease the most frequent cause for death.

Arab youth is optimistic for their future, especially those who live or intend to move to the United Arab Emirates. This was the conclusion of a large study by a local public relation agency, Arab Youth Survey, which was released last week and showed that many young people from the region are attracted by the political, and mostly economic stability and growth of the country. The results, however, may be now looked at differently, after a new study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. The research assessed life expectancy rates and the particular causes for death in different countries and concluded that UAE ranks almost at the bottom for life expectancy among economically similar countries.

UAE also has the highest death rates, with the biggest killers reported heart disease, road injuries, depression, diabetes and even drug use. In a table of 15 countries with similar geography, gross domestic product and income per capita, UAE is 15th with a life expectancy of 76.3 years. The other two Gulf countries, included in the study were Kuwait at 13th place (77.4 years) and Qatar at 11th place (79.8 years). According to the numbers, the most deaths in UAE in 2010 were caused by heart disease – a total of 2326, or 18 percent of all deaths, and people lost averagely 34 years of their lives due to the illness. With 1838 deaths, second in the ranking comes road fatality which took averagely 51 years of people’s lives.

Although the results may sound surprising at first sight, they in fact, follow a very clear logic. Most of the major causes of death in UAE are directly linked to lifestyle choices, so they could be prevented. While the Arab Youth Survey clearly shows that life in UAE is good, the US study explains that the good life and the various opportunities in the country lead to unhealthy, irresponsible habits. According to the Dubai Health Authority, heart disease and its related conditions and complications are to blame for one in five deaths in the Gulf region, making the illness a major health and social concern.

The rates for death caused by preterm birth complications and congenital anomalies were insignificant – 206 and 207 respectively. However, those deaths were among children and that’s why these numbers highly contributed to the low life expectancy in the country. Other lifestyle choices were also found to contribute greatly to the sad statistics – sedentary lifestyle, obesity, unhealthy eating habits, and lack of physical activity.


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