The interrelationship and accumulation of cardiometabolic risk factors amongst young adults in the United Arab Emirates: The UAE Healthy Future Study
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Introduction: Similar to other non-communicable diseases (NCDs), people who develop cardiovascular disease (CVD) typically have more than one risk factor. The clustering of cardiovascular risk factors begins in youth, early adult hood, and middle age. The presence of multiple risk factors simultaneously has been shown to increase the risk for atherosclerosis development in young and middle-aged adults and risk of CVD in middle age. Objective: This study aimed to address the interrelationship of CVD risk factors and their accumulation in a large sample of young adults in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Methods: Baseline data was drawn from the UAE Healthy Future Study (UAEHFS), a volunteer-based multicenter study that recruits Emirati nationals. Data of participants aged 18 to 40 years was used for cross-sectional analysis. Demographic and health information was collected through self-reported questionnaires. Anthropometric data and blood pressure were measured, and blood samples were collected. Results: A total of 5126 participants were included in the analysis. Comorbidity analyses showed that dyslipidemia and obesity co-existed with other cardiometabolic risk factors (CRFs) more than 70% and 50% of the time, respec tively. Multivariate logistic regression analysis of the risk factors with age and gender showed that all risk factors were highly associated with each other. The strongest relationship was found with obesity; it was associated with four-fold increase in the odds of having central obesity [adjusted OR 4.70 (95% CI (4.04–5.46)], and almost three-fold increase odds of having abnormal glycemic status [AOR 2.98 (95% (CI 2.49–3.55))], hypertension (AOR 3.03 (95% CI (2.61–3.52))] and dyslipidemia [AOR 2.71 (95% CI (2.32–3.15)]. Forty percent of the population accumulated more than 2 risk fac tors, and the burden increased with age. Conclusion: In this young population, cardiometabolic risk factors are highly prevalent and are associated with each other, therefore creating a heavy burden of risk factors. This forecasts an increase in the burden of CVD in the UAE. The robust longitudinal design of the UAEHFS will enable researchers to understand how risk factors cluster before disease develops. This knowledge will ofer a novel approach to design group-specifc preventive measures for CVD development.