UAE: Residents will live longer in 2100; lifespan for women to increase to over 82 years

People in the Emirates are blessed to have relatively easy access to swimming pools, sports courts and cycling as well as jogging trails to maintain a healthy life



by

Waheed Abbas

Published: Sat 18 Dec 2021, 12:13 PM

Last updated: Sun 19 Dec 2021, 3:05 PM

Everybody longs to live longer and healthier, too. But to have their wish come true, residents in the UAE will have to alter their lifestyle significantly.

But with the kind of lifestyle adopted by the majority of residents in the UAE, the obesity rate in the country, one of the highest in the world because of the sedentary lifestyle, is going to increase further.

But the government-driven initiatives such as 30X30 Dubai and Gov Games will motivate residents to change their lifestyles that will prolong their lives. To live longer, doctors in the UAE recommend that maintaining a healthy lifestyle – both physically and mentally – is paramount.

“Mostly in the UAE, we sometimes neglect mental health and focus only on physical health. Simple measures, such as being closer to nature, have shown that they improve mental health and wellbeing. This could be as simple as spending time in a park, having a stroll or view of the sea or listening to birds singing in the morning,” says Dr Ali Ali, consultant family medicine at Medcare Medical Centre.

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He pointed out that people in the UAE are blessed to have relatively easy access to swimming pools, sports courts and cycling as well as jogging trails to maintain a healthy life.

“We should try to adopt exercise as part of our regular weekly schedule. Studies have shown that exercising with friends or with others is more likely to result in long-term commitments with a more enjoyable experience.”

The Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation’s (IHME) forecast has shown that men and women in the UAE live longer in the years to come. According to the research institute's forecast, the average age of women in the UAE was 76.9 years in 2017, which is expected to increase to 82.4 in 2100. While men will also have a longer life by the end of this year – from around 71.7 years in 2017 to 77.1 years in 2100.

Due to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, fertility rates in most of the developed and rich countries – such as the UAE – are on the decline. Therefore, doctors recommend a healthy lifestyle that improves the fertility rate among couples. IHMA data showed that the fertility rate in the past three decades dropped substantially in UAE from 4.1 in 1990 to 1.3 in 2017. The rate is expected to remain stable at 1.3 by 2100.

What can prolong your life?

Dr Romelie G. Cangayda, Doctor of Medicine, at Zulekha Hospital, says she always advises her patients to maintain a body mass index (BMI) of less than 25.

“To maintain a healthy BMI, a person should avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Exercising for 30 minutes or more a day would help reduce weight and feel better about himself because good hormones called ‘endorphins’ are released during physical activity,” she said, adding that the residents should also adopt a healthy diet which includes more fruits and vegetables, less oily and fatty foods, drink at least eight glasses of water a day.

However, the UAE residents’ spending on healthcare will remain strong despite a drop over the next 30 years. The IHME projected that the residents will be spending $1,353 on healthcare in 2050 as against $1,689 in 2018.

Dr Ali pointed out that the residents will have longer weekends from January 1, 2022, which will provide them with more time to do exercise, mingle with nature and take care of their health more efficiently.

What not to do

To live longer and healthier, Dr Romelie strongly recommended that people stop smoking. “Furthermore, people have to manage their stress levels as mental health is equally important as their physical health.”

Dr Ali noted that easy – and quick – delivery of fast foods to homes has resulted in residents consuming unhealthy diets instead of eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

“We should all try to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day as part of our daily diet. This has been shown to increase the levels of antioxidants in our bodies and help fight and prevent infections as well as reduce the levels of saturated fats and cholesterol.”

He warned that people – including women – indulge in smoking and shisha during parties which will reduce their lifespan.

“We have unfortunately seen an increase in vaping being smoked amongst the young population with different flavours being advertised to attract new customers. Smoking increases the chances of cancer and cardiovascular diseases significantly.”

-waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com


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