Ramadan fasting research during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom: recruitment challenges




Journal Title

Journal ISSN


Volume Title


Journal of Public Health and Emergency



Peer reviewed



Background: Many Muslims in the UK perform a dawn to dusk fasting, with no food and water, for 29–30 days during the month of Ramadan. Adults and some children, with type 2 diabetes (T2D), also engage in fasting often without medical guidance. The potential benefits or harms associated with this have not been well investigated. This report discusses and reflects the experience of developing questionnaire-based studies and the challenges faced in engaging Ramadan fasting (RF) children and young adults in this research during the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. Methods: SOGOSurvey software was used to design retrospective and prospective questionnaires, which gathered information on medical history, lifestyle and COVID-19 pandemic-related impacts. The questionnaires were sent to healthy people and patients with T2D aged from 12 to 80 years old, who planned to fast during Ramadan for a minimum of 10 days. The participants were recruited from several communities and medical centres in the UK. Participants were contacted by phone and email. Results: The response rate for the retrospective questionnaire (27.5%), which included people with and without T2D, was lower than expected even though it was close to the average of the current online surveys responses at about 30%. The majority of the respondents were from the “Other ethnicities group” at 65.4%. Moreover, the response rate for the prospective study among only patients with T2D was at 22.5%. The youngest people with T2D who fasted during Ramadan were 14 years old. Conclusions: The low percentage of completion of the questionnaires may be due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Furthermore, it is known that participation in research is low amongst ethnic minority population in the UK. Creating greater awareness about the importance of participation in research studies within ethnic minority groups in the UK is needed. Face-to-face completion of questionnaires with the researcher could be the most effective approach for engaging 12 to16 years old children in research.


open access journal


Type 2 diabetes (T2D), Ramadan fasting (RF), children, young adults, COVID-19


Elmajnoun, H.K., Haris, P.I., Abu-Median, A.B. (2022) Ramadan fasting research during the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom: recruitment challenges. Journal of Public Health and Emergency,


Research Institute

Institute for Allied Health Sciences Research