Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, September 14, 2015: Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), part of Mubadala’s network of world-class healthcare facilities, teams up with Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (HAAD), the regulatory body of the healthcare sector in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, to launch the comprehensive WALK 2015 programme and is calling on the entire UAE community to come together and ‘#WalkWithMeUAE’ in a bid to inspire all residents to be more active in support of a healthier lifestyle and to help prevent and manage the important health issues associated with diabetes in the Emirate.
Now entering its ninth year, WALK 2015 will be held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak and is organised by ICLDC in partnership with HAAD and supported by ICLDC’s Mubadala sister healthcare facilities, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and Healthpoint.
H.E. Prof. Dr. Maha Taysir Barakat, Director General of HAAD, said: “One of our key drivers at HAAD is educating the Abu Dhabi community on priority health issues, and this can only be done by forging the right partnerships with our local stakeholders. Working hand-in-hand with our partners, we will ensure that our community is healthier and more sustainable. Today, HAAD is collaborating with ICLDC to address the issue of diabetes – a major public health concern in the Emirate. This partnership will see us reaching out to the community and engaging them to not only combat diabetes, but adopt an overall healthy lifestyle for years to come.”
Suhail Mahmood Al Ansari, Executive Director at Mubadala Healthcare and Chairman of Imperial College London Diabetes Centre commented: “Part of Imperial College London Diabetes Centre’s mission is tackling the prevalence of diabetes across Abu Dhabi and the region. We do this through education and raising awareness about the importance of a healthy lifestyle, exercise and a balanced diet.”
“Our annual Walk was launched in 2007 as an important part of this work. WALK 2015 has become a key event in the Abu Dhabi calendar that brings the community together encouraging individuals, families and organisations to increase their activity levels in a fun and interactive way. We are proud to have Health Authority-Abu Dhabi’s continued support on this key event and look forward to continuing our collaboration in the coming years.”
At the heart of this year’s programme, #WalkWithMeUAE, is encouraging individuals, groups of friends and corporate teams to get outside and get active, and to bring along their friends and colleagues as well. Walkers are encouraged to take pictures of their activities and post them on social media with the #WalkWithMeUAE hashtag.
The latest data shows that nearly 20 percent of the Abu Dhabi population is diabetic, and that an approximately equal percentage is pre-diabetic. A short, brisk 30-minute walk each day as well as being fun is key to preventing and managing diabetes by making a substantial difference to people’s lifestyles and bodyweight.
To assist with this, and to help people get prepared for the main event, from September 15 up until WALK 2015, HAAD and ICLDC are organising six weekly ‘mini walks’ around the Abu Dhabi emirate that members of the public can take part in. The weekly schedule is as follows:
1. Mondays – Al Jaheli Park, Al Ain at 7:00pm
2. Tuesdays – ‘TrainYAS’, from 6:30pm at Yas Marina Circuit
3. Wednesdays – ‘GoYAS’ from 6:30pm at Yas Marina Circuit (females only)
4. Wednesdays – Al Gharbiya Public Park, Madinat Zayed from 7:00pm
5. Saturdays – Abu Dhabi Mall, Abu Dhabi at 8:00am
6. Saturdays – Mushrif Park, Abu Dhabi from 7:00pm
Those attending the weekly mini walks can post videos and images using the #WalkWithMeUAE hashtag to help foster a sense of community spirit and spur on those thinking of making a change to their diet and exercise routines. Free #WalkWithMeUAE T-shirts will also be given out at the five locations throughout the eight-week programme.
The organisers have also activated a new ‘NetWALKING’ initiative to directly engage with the UAE’s corporate community. Hosted online through LinkedIN, companies can connect online to organise their own NetWALKING events, gain insights on walking in the workplace and share their stories to encourage activity in the workplace. Again, they can share their WALK 2015 content on social media.
Imperial College London Diabetes Centre, with Yas Marina Circuit and supported by HAAD also confirmed the return of the popular knowledge exchange forum, HealthX, taking place before WALK 2015 on November 13. Now in its fourth edition, HealthX will focus on ‘Nutrition From All Angles’ and will see leading figures from the world of health, fitness and nutrition give a series of engaging presentations that actively foster debate and conversation around these important issues.
Al Tareq Al Ameri, CEO of Yas Marina Circuit, added: “We are delighted to be hosting the WALK event again this year, now a mainstay in the health and fitness calendar at Yas Marina Circuit.”
“As Managing Partner of the event it’s our privilege to continue to work with Imperial College London Diabetes Centre, HAAD and the key supporters to effect real and meaningful change in the health and wellbeing of the UAE.”
“We are especially excited by the new initiatives in this year’s WALK such as community mini-walks and the NetWALKING outreach programme to further extend the WALK’s reach to all parts of the community.
“We’re looking forward to another hugely successful event."
Following the success of last year’s comprehensive health audit undertaken at the event which delivered an average Body Mass Index of 25.8 among walkers and tracked the frequency of activity, WALK 2015 will continue to build on the data already collated at all of Yas Marina Circuit’s community events during the last twelve months. Body mass index and other biometric information captured on-site provides a clear picture of fitness levels across the UAE and will be used in longer term health planning, with results from WALK 2015 published shortly after the event.
Registration for WALK 2015 opens on Monday September 14, and tickets can be purchased online at www.walk2015.com.
More information on the wide range of fun activities planned for WALK 2015 will be announced in due course.