Under the continued patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Chairwoman of the General Women's Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF), the "Mother of the UAE”, the 12th edition of the UAE’s largest annual walkathon, Walk 2018, took place yesterday at Abu Dhabi’s iconic Yas Marina Circuit with the common objective to raise awareness about diabetes.
“Thanks to the support of leading organizations and enthusiastic participants from across Abu Dhabi, the Walkathon has grown into a major event that promotes community health and wellbeing,” said Waleed Al Mokarrab Al Muhairi, Deputy Group CEO & Chief Executive Officer, Alternative Investments and Infrastructure, Mubadala, and Chairman of Imperial College London Diabetes Centre.
“This is the twelfth walkathon, and it is very rewarding to see such an impressive number of participants take part and be active. By encouraging people to limit sedentary behaviour and engage in physical activity, we are working to achieve the wider national vision of a healthier, happier lifestyle for all,” he added.
Walk 2018 emphasises the importance of regular physical activity, weight management and eating a healthy, balanced diet in the battle against diabetes.
According to the International Federation of Diabetes, in 2017, 425 million people had diabetes in the world. In the MENA region, more than 39 million people were affected by the disease and that number is expected to rise to 67 million by 2045. The UAE is no exception with over 1 million people living with diabetes in 2017, placing the country 15th worldwide for age-adjusted comparative prevalence.
HE Aref Hamad Al Awani, General Secretary of Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC) said: “Diabetes has taken a major toll on our society and we are relentless in our dedication to fight this chronic disease and its major risk factor, inactivity. We are supporting and participating again this year in this walkathon because we believe it is a very good platform to remind everyone of the need to make time in our daily routines for exercise and physical activity and we are very proud of the amazing turnout.”
Participants representing several prominent local entities joined Abu Dhabi and UAE attendees in yesterday’s walk, and a delegation from Abu Dhabi Police led the way ahead of senior government officials.
Additionally, this year Mubadala was the Official Village Partner of Walk 2018 as part of its commitment to raise awareness about diabetes and encourage the community in Abu Dhabi and the wider UAE to lead healthier lives. With Mubadala’s ongoing commitment to the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019, Special Olympics athletes joined Mubadala at Walk 2018 during the 40 Yard Dash and the Vertical Leap Challenge.
Commenting on the day, Homaid Al Shimmari, Deputy Group CEO and Chief Corporate & Human Capital Officer, Mubadala, said: “Diabetes strikes people in our community from all walks of life. Year on year, the walkathon provides us with the opportunity to come together and be physically active to make a difference for people with diabetes. Our friends at Imperial College London Diabetes Centre, Healthpoint and Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi are doing remarkable work to increase diabetes education and help people living with diabetes better manage their disease, and we’re honored to support them as we share their dedication to community engagement and encouraging healthier lifestyle choices.”
In addition to the 5 km walk, Walk 2018 also hosted a range of dynamic activations including Zumba demonstrations, trampolines, bubble football, gladiator challenges, badminton and fitness sessions.
An award ceremony for the Walking Challenge, another initiative by ICLDC, was also held during the afternoon activities following the walk. Al Ain-based companies, the United Arab Emirates University, Strata, and Imperial College London Diabetes Centre in addition to Abu Dhabi-based companies, the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi, Etisalat, and the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi won first, second and third places respectively in each emirate for having the largest cumulative number of steps since the launch of the campaign in April.
Organised by Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC) with the support of Department of Health – Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Abu Dhabi Police, the Special Olympics World Games Abu Dhabi 2019 (SOWG 2019), and sister companies Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and Healthpoint, the annual walkathon was part of ICLDC’s award-winning campaign Diabetes.Knowledge.Action.