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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2015

Uncovering risky behaviors of expatriate teenagers in the United Arab Emirates: A survey of tobacco use, nutrition and physical activity habits

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2015
Leena W. Asfour, Zachary D. Stanley, Michael Weitzman, Scott E. Sherman
Wichtige Hinweise
Leena W. Asfour and Zachary D. Stanley contributed equally to this work.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

LA and ZS administered the surveys. LA and ZS analyzed and interpreted the data. SS was involved with the conceptual framework of the project and established the study design. LA, ZS, SS and MW drafted and edited the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Tobacco use and unhealthy lifestyle habits amongst youth contribute to most major health issues in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and worldwide. However up to date and comprehensive statistics are not available on the current behavior, experimentation and environmental influences on teenagers in the UAE’s expatriate community, who are greatly impacted by the country’s culture and environment, as well as bringing influences from their cultures of origin. Expatriates comprise a majority of the UAE population, making them an important subset of the population to study.


To address this gap in knowledge, a survey was conducted to collect information on tobacco use, physical activity and nutrition behaviors, anti-tobacco media/legislation effectiveness and health education gaps.


Our results provide a summary on each of these topics with regards to ninth grade expatriates in the UAE. We offer the first statistics on dokha use in this age group and uncover signs of underlying eating disorders.


In conclusion, we call for a tobacco use, nutrition and physical activity intervention targeted at this age group of UAE expatriates.
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