Analysis raises awareness about risk factors to maintain heart health
In line with World Heart Day, Majid Al Futtaim, the leading shopping mall, retail and leisure pioneer across the Middle East and North Africa, is releasing statistics derived from heart health screening conducted in the region earlier this year, as part of Go Red for Women, conducted in its shopping malls across the region. In the UAE, participating malls were Mall of the Emirates, City Centre Deira and City Centre Mirdif in Dubai, City Centre Ajman, City Centre Fujairah, City Centre Sharjah and My City Centre Al Nasseriya in the Northern Emirates. The regional campaign also extended to City Centres in Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon and Oman.
The data collected is a valuable contribution to medical research specific to women in the Middle East, offering insights into current trends and risk factors. Majid Al Futtaim partnered with the Ministry of Health in the UAE, the American Heart Association, plus local health organizations across the region to analyze data from a sizeable sample of 4,742 women.
“Majid Al Futtaim is continually striving to identify areas of innovation across sectors, while it acts in the interest of community well-being; a healthy society is a prosperous one,” said Fuad Mansoor Sharaf, Senior Director – Property Management, Shopping Malls for Majid Al Futtaim Properties. “As part of our commitment at Majid Al Futtaim to create great moments for everyone every day, the data collected can be used by the medical community in the Middle East to complement research efforts where data is scarce and costly to gather,” added Fuad Sharaf.
As a result of 4,742 women (a majority between 25-54 age group) participating in a heart health screening completed in June 2014, the following are some of the key findings, enriching the understanding of heart disease amongst community members and medical practitioners in the Middle East.
The study included a questionnaire as well as testing for the main indicators of heart disease which include smoking, high blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure and Body Mass Index. Smoking and diabetes did not show as big problem areas for women in the Middle East. Amongst the women screened, 7% were smokers and 9% had diabetes and 70% of those with high blood sugar were healthy and controlled with medication. Cholesterol levels were high in 11% of the women screened, but more than half of them were unmanaged, 43% were on medication to lower their cholesterol levels. Similarly, 7% self-reported having high blood pressure, 63% of which were on treatment.
While smoking figures, blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure showed less prevalence in the women who participated in the screening, overweight issues proved of much higher concern due to an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. More than half of the women screened, 62%, reported that they are not engaged in exercise activities. Body Mass Index figures were high, 33% were found overweight ranging between 25-29 BMI and 31% were found obese with BMI figures of 30+, compared to the healthy range of 18.5 to 24.9.
Apart from being healthy and maintaining low rates of blood sugar and so on, having a family history of risk factors that cause heart disease can play a major role in making people more prone to heart disease. 34% of women screened had a family history of heart disease and 50% had diabetes in their family, while only 3% had a family history of cardiac surgery intervention.
Majid Al Futtaim has hosted the Go Red for Women campaign for five consecutive years, raising the red alert of women’s heart health in the region. Majid Al Futtaim’s ongoing partnership with the American Heart Association, Ministry of Health and local health organizations across the region is aimed at providing reliable figures and statistical data on the current state of heart health amongst women today who reside in the Middle East region. Detailed data is available upon request for interested medical practitioners who would like to access the complete data collected for further analysis.