Abu Dhabi, UAE November 15 2013: A mega crowd of more than 20,000 joined Walk 2013 at Yas Marina Circuit (November 15) between them taking more than 70 million steps, far exceeding expectations.
Walk 2013, an annual event now in its seventh year, is organised by the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, and with the continuing support of the National Health Insurance Company–Daman.
This year’s event took place just one day after World Diabetes Day against the backdrop of the news that diabetes prevalence has increased, globally.
The International Diabetes Federation’s (IDF) Atlas 2013 estimates that 382 million people are living with diabetes, worldwide, representing an increase of 11 million from 2012. In the UAE the IDF suggests that 18.98 per cent of the population is living with diabetes, almost on par with 2012.
Carol Sansour Dabdoub, ICLDC’s Marketing, Communications and Campaign Manager acknowledged that diabetes remains a key challenge worldwide.
However she expressed her delight at the high level of community participation at Walk 2013 a great increase from the 4,500 who participated in the first walkathon in 2007.
“With families, corporates and children all taking part it is clear that Walk 2013 is truly a community event. It is important because we must all be aware that there is a tendency towards a sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet - a combination that has seen a rise in obesity and diabetes over recent years.
“But the good news is that a 30-minute brisk walk every day in combination with a balanced diet is all it takes to adopt a healthy lifestyle that can help prevent and even reverse diabetes and its related complications,” she stressed.
Walk 2013 is part of Walk for Life, a key pillar in ICLDC’s long-running public health awareness campaign ‘Diabetes-Knowledge-Action’.
Over the past months, the campaign has rolled out a host of mini-walks across the UAE with millions of steps taken since June by schools and organisations in support of Start Walking., the exciting new grassroots community initiative.
Walk 2013’s 20,000-plus walkers is estimated to have brought the total number of steps taken over the past weeks to 7 4million.
Meanwhile, Daman’s CEO Dr Michael Bitzer said he was delighted with the show of support.
“Daman is very pleased with the incredible crowd on the track. It suggests that people now are becoming more aware of the importance of walking, and are here to support and showcase the importance of getting active to overcome diabetes.
“As part of its strategy Daman will continue to support the community as it aims to avert the spread of diabetes. We have launched and continue to introduce new initiatives to mobilise the community to get active and healthy under Daman’s ActiveLife brand,” he concluded.