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UAE residents resolve to pray more in 2016

By Shuchita Kapur

Whether it’s the increasing conflict in the world or just the belief in becoming a more devout person, many residents in the UAE resolve to pray more in the New Year.

In an online poll run by Emirates 24|7, the maximum number of respondents (22 per cent) said they want to devote more time to the almighty by praying regularly and more often.  

This is followed by 21 per cent of the participants who want to focus on a healthy life. A good 21 per cent of residents resolve to exercise more to be healthy in 2016.

The number of people who have health on their mind is rather small considering the rising obesity rate in the UAE.

In a 2015 survey released by Zurich International Life, majority of those living in the UAE are either overweight or obese.

The data shows 47.5 per cent of residents were overweight, with a BMI of between 25 and 30, while another 13 per cent were obese, with a BMI of over 30.

Since the average BMI in the UAE is 25.6, the average UAE resident is considered overweight. However, only 21 per cent want to get fit indicating an increasing waistline of others.

New Year is also a time when people promise themselves to do an act of self-improvement or something slightly nice, such as greeting fellow workers in the morning, smiling, saying thank you or just a simple thing such as opening doors for others.

This number of people may not be big but 6 per cent of the residents in the country want to be nicer to people. An equal number of people want to control their purse strings in the New Year by deciding to spend less.

Just as in the case of getting fit, this number too is small in the country. The zero income tax salary in the UAE means that we should be able to save more each month and should be able to work out our retirement plans faster than what we would have been able to do in hour home country.

And UAE’s per capita income at Dh178,351, or $48,597 (2011 estimates by International Monetary Fund),  making its residents the sixth-richest in the world, which should help achieve our targets even faster.

But, the tax free work environment and high salaries don’t match up with savings. A previous poll by this website shows that residents in the country believe they will have to continue work even when they reach the retirement age as their financial situation will not permit them to continue to live their current lifestyle.

But, a number in single digits (6 per cent) who want to save up can be worrying for those who are engrossed just in today’s financial commitments.

A small number (5 per cent) of residents want to buy a house this year after property prices have dipped. JLL, a real estate services firm, recently said average apartment prices in Dubai fell by 11 per cent year-on-year till August 2015, making it more affordable to buy.

An equal number of residents want to be more disciplined but did not state what kind of discipline they want to incorporate in life.

Besides this, 30 per cent of participants do not have any New Year's resolution. This percentage of people would probably fall into the category of those who believe it’s a pointless exercise - waiting for one year to decide to do certain things and then giving it up in a month or two.