Mother and Baby Cohort In UAE(MISC):
Opportunities and Challenges
Background: In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), trend analysis revealed an alarmingly high prevalence of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). Emerging evidence has highlighted the role of maternal and early child nutrition in affecting optimal growth as well as in preventing NCDs later in life. The aim of this project is to launch the first mother and child cohort in the UAE, exploring maternal diet and lifestyle as well as breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices and investigating their association with early life determinants of NCDs. The objective of the presentation is to describe the development and characteristics of the study protocol used in this prospective cohort study, as well as the challenges, retention, and collection strategies.
Methods: It is an ongoing two-year prospective cohort study that recruited pregnant women during their third trimester who attended the prenatal clinics in four hospitals : Al Qassimi, Al Baraha, Al Dhaid and Khalifa-Ajman.
Results: After obtaining written consents , 250 mothers, attending prenatal clinics in the hospitals, were interviewed, once after their second trimester and five times post delivery (upon delivery and when the child is 2, 6, 12, and 24 months old). Data collection included maternal socio-demographic and lifestyle characteristics, dietary intake, and anthropometric measurements. Biological specimen collection will include a blood sample and a breast milk extract from the mother upon delivery as well as blood samples from mother and child at 6 months.
The main challenges that this cohort study presents are retention challenges that are common to conventional longitudinal cohort studies. Other challenges have been identified during this cohort, such as logistical/cultural complexity, underestimation the necessary start-up time, staff, and costs in conducting this birth cohort study.
Conclusion: Despite numerous logistical challenges in collecting longitudinal birth cohort data, satisfactory follow-up rates were recorded in the MISC cohort. Even though, its relatively small sample size, this is the first Cohort study in the UAE that will shed light on the association of maternal and infants feeding practices with predictors of the NCDs later in life. Strategies addressing logistic, and other challenges are documented, that will assist future researchers undertaking or planning similar studies in UAE or other Arab countries.
Hadia Radwan Biography
Hadia Radwan earned her BSc. and MSc. from the American University of Beirut in Nutrition and Dietetics and her PhD form University of Teesside –UK. She is currently working as an Assistant Professor, Department of Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics at the College of Health Sciences, University of Sharjah since 2013. She worked previously in several hospitals as dietitian and nutrition training specialist and organized many nutrition and dietetic training programs and workshops for the dietitians. She has many publications in the area of nutrition and dietetics. Her areas of research include Maternal and child nutrition, sports nutrition ,and influences of diet and physical activity on weight management and chronic diseases.