Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC) was today joined by senior executives from Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD), National Health Insurance Company - Daman, and Yas Marina Circuit united once again to put healthy living squarely at the top of the UAE agenda in the lead up to #WALK2014.
Under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, WALK 2014 will be held on 7th November at Yas Marina Circuit, and is the UAE’s longest running public health awareness initiative, organised by Imperial College London Diabetes Centre and supported by Daman.
Also present was NBA legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. In his ambassadorial role for Imperial College London Diabetes Centre, Abdul-Jabbar is lending his support to the on-going efforts to spread awareness on the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle and spotlighting the benefits of #WALK2014. He has already taken part in the social media campaign that supports ‘Take a Step for Diabetes’ by posting a ‘shoe-selfie’, and is in the UAE all this week in the lead up to WALK 2014.
Now in its eighth year, WALK 2014 is expected to see 20,000 people walking the F1 track at Yas Marina Circuit to support diabetes awareness. An array of new programmes are also being launched as part of WALK 2014, including a ‘big-data’ initiative that will confidentially record body mass index (BMI) data of willing participants, in a bid to actively track levels of activity and health in the community. Results will be published, in an effort to encourage the development of new community wellness programmes and activities.
Also new this year is the introduction of ‘Health-X’, a community-oriented health and wellbeing forum aimed at facilitating better conversations and idea-sharing between healthcare practitioners who are keen to make a difference in community health.
HealthX, also set to take place on 7th November, will focus on ways to empower the community to lead more active lives, engaging community health leaders and exploring the latest practical innovations in health and fitness.
“The continued efforts to put healthier living at the top of the health agenda is something that we are very pleased to offer our wholehearted support to,” says Professor Maha Barakat, Director General of Health Authority Abu Dhabi. “Increasing awareness of such important health issues as regular exercise and proper nutrition is one of our core tenets at HAAD. One of our priorities is to increase awareness on diabetes and other life-threatening conditions and the means to prevent them.”
Imperial College London Diabetes Centre, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mubadala Healthcare, is a leading advocate of living healthy lifestyles, and organises the annual WALK event as part of its award-winning Diabetes-Knowledge-Action public health awareness campaign.
Suhail Mahmood Al Ansari, Executive Director of Mubadala Healthcare and Chairman of ICLDC, says: “This event puts important issues affecting the UAE, such as the high prevalence of diabetes and obesity, at the top of everyone’s minds. Over the past eight years, the WALK has stood for a community-wide pledge to bring awareness to diabetes, and shine light on the steps each of us can take to manage, and even prevent, diabetes.”
Bashar Al Ramahi, CEO of Imperial College London Diabetes Centre, says: “Through our continued outreach programmes, we aim at empowering the communities in the UAE to make the simple and smart choices of exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet and maintaining a normal body weight. Walking is a great way for the whole family to exercise and it is our hope that WALK2014 helps to show that it only takes 30 minutes of walking a day to make a positive change in our health.”
“As the leading health insurance specialist and an advocate for healthy living, we are proud to continue our partnership with ICLDC for the eight consecutive year. We champion a preventative rather than curative approach to healthcare through numerous initiatives, all of which encourage small changes to health and fitness that can make a big difference. The journey to a healthy lifestyle starts with the first step and WALK2014 makes that step easy for the entire family,” explained Dr. Michael Bitzer, CEO of Daman. “The addition of baseline metrics for WALK2014 is hugely significant; it will provide better insight and drive further understanding of lifestyle activities which in turn help us plan more effectively for the future.”
“As hosts of both HealthX and #WALK2014, Yas Marina Circuit is delighted to be supporting such worthy health awareness initiatives in the UAE,” says Al Tareq Al Ameri, CEO of Yas Marina Circuit. “We are firmly committed to playing both a strategic and practical role in getting the local community to take up a more active lifestyle.”