More than 10,000 people joined the WALK UAE 2009 walkathon at the Yas Marina Circuit to raise the public awareness of diabetes, and broke a record to boot.
The event organisers, Imperial College London Diabetes Centre, confirmed that the five kilometre walk around the Yas Marina Circuit received the biggest turnout for the diabetes walkathon, up by more than 30 percent on last year.
ICLDC’s chairman, Mark Erhart and board member, Suhail Al Ansari joined the bumper crowd of walkers from organisations, families and individuals (yesterday, Friday November 20 2009) in an effort to endorse regular walking as an easy-to-manage step in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Walk UAE 2009, the capital’s third annual walkathon against diabetes, is the hallmark initiative in UAE to bring diabetes to the forefront of community. It forms part of ‘Diabetes Knowledge Action’ public awareness campaign by ICLDC, under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, and in partnership with Emirates Foundation for Philanthropy.
Emirates Foundation’s, Maytha Al Habsi also joined the walk, as did Dr Michael Bitzer, CEO of Daman – the National Insurance Company. Daman pledged its support as the exclusive sponsor of WALK UAE 2009 for the third time, a role cemented since the event’s inaugural walk in 2007.
Dr Maha Taysir Barakat, Medical & Research Director and Consultant Endocrinologist, ICLDC said: “The UAE has second highest diabetes prevalence in the world, with more than 20 per cent of the population living with diabetes.
“A sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy eating habits are cited as the main causes of the increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes in the UAE, and a 30-minute brisk walk each day can help manage and even prevent it.”
In recent years diabetes has reached epidemic levels worldwide, with children as young as seven years of age developing diabetes and ICLDC aims to help reverse this prevalence through awareness.
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has stated that up to 58 percent of type 2 diabetes is preventable by adopting a healthy diet and increasing physical activity.
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