A survey of UAE residents showed a majority of both expats and locals prefer consulting the internet for health information. The survey, sponsored by The National Insurance Company – Daman, found 70% of people prefer going online for health information to actual doctors’ appointments.
The study consisted of face-to-face interviews conducted with residents of all seven emirates in February and March of 2011. A representative sample of the population aged 18-55 was chosen based on 2005 census data. Respondents represented a range of nationalities, including Emiratis, Arab expats, Asians and Westerners.
The survey focused on six key areas related to health: current health and wellness concerns, knowledge of health related issues, diet and nutrition, levels of physical activity, health related communication trends, and commuting habits and behaviors.
The results found 40% of respondents were either obese or overweight. Also that residents much prefer using the internet to obtain health information.
Daman’s Chief Commercial Officer, Dr. Sven Rohte, commented:
We had four key research objectives in conducting this survey. To identify key issues regarding health and lifestyle habits, to promote healthy lifestyle choices across the UAE population, to create awareness surrounding key health concerns, and to remain abreast of changes and developments on the level of healthiness of the country’s lifestyle habits. We are confident this data will allow us to meet each of these goals.
The Daman survey further underscores the importance of internet health applications. It also points to the strong growth potential for healthcare services and private insurance across the Middle East. Recent statistics have shown the Middle East’s health infrastructure is ill-equipped to handle increasing demand–numbers of hospital beds and skilled medical personnel are far below those in countries such as the US and UK. This represents both a healthcare challenge and business opportunity.