Background/Aim: Diabetes mellitus is a non-communicable disease which has become a
major global public health issue. This systematic review summarized epidemiological studies related
to the prevalence, risk factors, complications, incidence, knowledge, attitude and practices of Diabetes
Mellitus (DM) among Arab population in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Methods: PubMed, Scopus databases, Science direct, Wiley online library, and other local journals
were searched to identify relevant literature using appropriate keywords to retrieve studies conducted
in the UAE. Search limits were restricted to studies in English language, between 2007 and 2016, and
on UAE population (both citizens and expatriates).
Results: Electronic database search yielded 24 studies about the prevalence, incidence, complications,
risk factors, knowledge, attitudes and practices of diabetes, including cross sectional studies (n =18),
population-based survey (n = 1), retrospective cohort studies (n = 3), qualitative (n=1), and randomized
controlled trial (n = 1). Countrywide prevalence estimates of Diabetes Mellitus were reported to
be high. The major determinants of Diabetes Mellitus involved hypertension, physical inactivity, sedentary
lifestyle, and unhealthy diet.
Conclusion: Even though past evidences have promulgated the role of numerous causative factors, the
epidemiological implications of some of the risk factors including family history, educational level,
and the use of alcohol remain elusive. This systematic review signifies epidemiology of Diabetes Mellitus
in the United Arab Emirates and suggests that extra efforts are needed for preventive and curative
strategies in order to decrease the burden of this non-communicable disease.