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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 14 November 2018

Thousands of people expected to attend annual 5km walk

Event takes place at Yas Marina Circuit on November 16.

More than 21,000 people took part in the event in 2015. Vidhyaa / The National
More than 21,000 people took part in the event in 2015. Vidhyaa / The National

More than 20,000 people are expected to turn up to an annual 5km walk on Yas Island on November 16.

Now in its 12th year, the walk takes place at Yas Marina Circuit and welcomes families and friends of all ages.

Walk 2018 aims to highlight the benefits of leading a healthier lifestyle and is supported by the Abu Dhabi Department of Health Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Sports Council.

“Walk 2018 harnesses the power of the Abu Dhabi community to proactively address the increasing incidence of diabetes in the UAE, taking positive steps together to embrace well-being through active lifestyle choices,” said Lawrence Patrick, chief executive of the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre.

“Attracting a wider and more engaged audience every year, Walk 2018 is the most visible and engaging element of ICLDC’s efforts to build awareness on prevention and management of diabetes, including the need for regular physical activity, balanced diet choices and healthy weight management.”

The International Diabetes Federation says more than one million people in the UAE live with diabetes.

Rates of the disease are also increasing faster in the UAE than in the other Gulf states, with authorities estimating the number of sufferers will double to 2.2 million by 2040.

“Our collaboration with ICLDC on Walk 2018 underscores our commitment towards achieving our vision of a healthier Abu Dhabi,” said Mohamed Al Hameli, undersecretary of the Department of Health .

“Together we can take steps toward a future with fewer of the social and economic challenges caused by chronic diseases including diabetes."

Dr Farhana bin Lootah, of Imperial College London Diabetes Centre Abu Dhabi, said 50 per cent of patients with type 2 diabetes did not display symptoms, making screening crucial.

Dr bin Lootah said walking was easy, cheap and carried substantial health benefits including increased brain function.

“You don’t need any gear, just a pair of sneakers," she said. "And if you walk as if you are late for work, that is a brisk walk.

“Walking is very important. It prevents diabetes and if there is diabetes, it prevents complications. Walking also increases your brain function, reduces dementia, increases your memory, and so on.”

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