Metabolic Syndrome in Fasting and Non-Fasting Participants: The UAE Healthy Future Study

Fatima Mezhal, Amar Ahmad, Abdishakur Abdulle, Andrea Leinberger-Jabari, Abderrahim Oulhaj, Abdulla AlJunaibi, Abdulla Alnaeemi, Ayesha S. Al Dhaheri, Eiman AlZaabi, Fatma Al-Maskari, Fatme AlAnouti, Habiba Alsafar, Juma Alkaabi, Laila Abdel Wareth, Mai Aljaber, Marina Kazim, Manal Alblooshi, Mohammad Al-Houqani, Mohammad Hag Ali, Naima OumezianeOmar El-Shahawy, Rami H. Al-Rifai, Scott Sherman, Syed M. Shah, Tom Loney, Wael Almahmeed, Youssef Idaghdour, Luai A. Ahmed, Raghib Ali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a multiplex of risk factors that predispose people to the development of diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD), two of the major non-communicable diseases that contribute to mortality in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). MetS guidelines require the testing of fasting samples, but there are evidence-based suggestions that non-fasting samples are also reliable for CVD-related screening measures. In this study, we aimed to estimate MetS and its components in a sample of young Emiratis using HbA1c as another glycemic marker. We also aimed to estimate the associations of some known CVD risk factors with MetS in our population. Methods: The study was based on a cross-sectional analysis of baseline data of 5161 participants from the UAE Healthy Future Study (UAEHFS). MetS was identified using the NCEP ATP III criteria, with the addition of HbA1c as another glycemic indicator. Fasting blood glucose (FBG) and HbA1c were used either individually or combined to identify the glycemic component of MetS, based on the fasting status. Multivariate regression analysis was used to test for associations of selected social and behavioral factors with MetS. Results: Our sample included 3196 men and 1965 women below the age of 40 years. Only about 21% of the sample were fasting at the time of recruitment. The age-adjusted prevalence of MetS was estimated as 22.7% in males and 12.5% in females. MetS prevalence was not statistically different after substituting FBG by HbA1c in the fasting groups (p > 0.05). Age, increased body mass index (BMI), and family history of any metabolic abnormality and/or heart disease were consistently strongly associated with MetS. Conclusion: MetS is highly prevalent in our sample of young Emirati adults. Our data showed that HbA1c may be an acceptable tool to test for the glycemic component of MetS in non-fasting samples. We found that the most relevant risk factors for predicting the prevalence of MetS were age, BMI, and family history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number13757
JournalInternational journal of environmental research and public health
Issue number21
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • United Arab Emirates
  • central obesity
  • diabetes
  • dyslipidemia
  • hypertension
  • metabolic syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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