x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Thousands walk 5km at Yas Marina Circuit to promote healthy living

Annual Walk event draws more than 17,000 people who want to fight the flab.

More than 17,000 people turned out to get fit by walking Yas Marina Circuit. Sammy Dallal / The National
More than 17,000 people turned out to get fit by walking Yas Marina Circuit. Sammy Dallal / The National

ABU DHABI // A sea of white swamped Yas Marina Circuit today as thousands of people turned out to support Walk 2013.

Organised by the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre and health insurer Daman under the patronage of Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the event aimed to promote a healthy lifestyle, said a spokeswoman, Susan Furness.

“A healthy lifestyle actually can be achieved by just adopting a balanced diet and a 30-minute brisk walk a day,” she said.

“Those two things should do well for us all. And, actually, it can help prevent diabetes, manage diabetes and it can reverse diabetes.”

The seventh annual walk drew more than 17,000 people in white walkathon T-shirts and bags who marched along the same 5-kilometre route taken by drivers at the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix at the start of this month.

Families and friends sauntered along in support of a single cause – to get fit.

“It’s encouraging,” said Ahmed Ismail, 32, an Egyptian living Abu Dhabi.

Mr Ismail attended with his wife, their two-year-old son and four-year-old daughter. Their goal, he said, was to “lose it”.

The walk was organised to coincide with World Diabetes Day, marked yesterday.

“It’s an issue worldwide,” Mrs Furness said.

An estimated 382 million people worldwide suffer from diabetes.

In the UAE, 745,940 people have the disease, according to statistics from the International Diabetes Federation.

The risk of type 2 diabetes can be reduced with daily exercise and a healthy diet.

“The main aim of this walk is to raise awareness of that healthy lifestyle,” Mrs Furness said.

rpennington@thenational.ae