Healthy lifestyle is vital in fighting Covid-19, says UAE researcher

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Abu Dhabi - Senior UAE health official said most of the recovered patients followed healthy behaviours.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Sat 2 May 2020, 2:57 AM

Last updated: Sat 2 May 2020, 5:01 AM

Eating healthy, regular exercise, avoiding smoking and working on mental health are key factors in boosting the immune system which helps the body to fight against the coronavirus disease, said a researcher at New York University-Abu Dhabi (NYUAD).

Raghib Ali, director of the Public Health Research Centre at NYUAD, said obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases are very common among the UAE population and these diseases greatly increase the risks associated with Covid-19.

"It is important that people be mindful about their diet and live healthy lifestyles. People should do regular physical exercises, avoid smoking and other bad habits and work on their mental health to ensure a robust immune system that can fight diseases such as Covid-19," said Ali during a virtual discussion on Tuesday about the NYUAD's UAE Healthy Future Study in which researchers shared information on its new research approach and ongoing progress.

Dr Farida Al Hosani, official spokesperson for the UAE Health Sector, earlier said most of the patients who fully recovered from coronavirus in the UAE followed healthy behaviours that helped strengthen their immune system.

"In most cases of recoveries, we noticed that the patients have followed several daily health behaviours, such as doing exercise, eating a healthy diet, strengthening the immune system and maintaining an ideal weight, as well as abstaining from bad habits, such as smoking and unhealthy eating," said Al Hosani.

In a virtual discussion last week, authorities at NYUAD said their long-term UAE Healthy Future Study focuses on Emirati health, with its Abu Dhabi partner Tamkeen shifting to online recruitment in response to the precautions set out by the UAE Government to protect public health and limit the spread of the coronavirus.

The study, launched at NYUAD in 2017, aims to determine the causes of common chronic diseases in the country's national population. Study volunteers now have the opportunity to participate through an online-based platform instead of physically visiting clinics to register. Participants are now able to join the study, provide online consent and complete the study questionnaire with just a click of a button.

Abdishakur Abdulle, Associate Director of the Public Health Research Center at NYUAD said: "The UAE Healthy Future Study, a national cohort study, is now providing a great opportunity for Emiratis to participate online in order to assist us in developing better prevention, diagnosis, and treatment strategies for the UAE. This online recruitment approach is timely and will ideally encourage many participants to join the study from the comfort of their homes ensuring physical distancing to limit the spread of the coronavirus."

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