UN Diabetes Day observed in Dubai

DUBAI — American actor Chris Williams, from TV Series 24, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Californication, joined the campaign to spread awareness about diabetes at an event hosted by the Ibn Battuta Mall on Wednesday evening.

By Zoe Sinclair (Our staff reporter)

Published: Fri 16 Nov 2007, 8:58 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 4:37 AM

Hundreds of visitors gathered and united in a circle at the China Court to mark the first United Nations World Diabetes Day.

Williams revealed his grandmother had died of complications after her leg was amputated because of the disease, and two of his aunts also suffered from the disease.

“Anything I can do to raise awareness about diabetes, I’m happy to do,” he said. “I was shocked to discover that 20 per cent of people in the UAE have diabetes but so many don’t realise and don’t understand the importance of a good diet and exercise.”

Williams, brother of Vanessa Williams from Ugly Betty, has run three marathons in his quest to improve people’s understanding of diabetes.

“Every 10 seconds, two people get diabetes,” he said. “Every 10 seconds, one person dies of complications and the disease isn’t slowing, it’s getting worse.”

The theme of this year’s World Diabetes Day campaign was the prevalence of diabetes in children and adolescents, and the visitors to the mall were kept entertained by exciting performances by clowns, magicians, stilt walkers, jugglers and drummers.

More than 100 fitness enthusiasts participated in a heart-racing three-hour spin session -marathon in China Court, hosted by 12 of the leading Fitness First instructors in the region to enforce the importance of an active lifestyle to prevent diabetes.

A huge blue World Diabetes logo was placed around the court, with visitors standing on the outline to form a human circle that signified the unity of the global diabetes community in response to the current diabetes epidemic.

Williams also picked the winner of the Kia Sportage from the ballots received on a purchase of Dh10 Unite for Diabetes fundraising bracelet. The winner was Mourtada Ahmad Bahadori.

All proceeds from the car raffle went to the UAE’s National Diabetes Committee to further help combat the silent epidemic.

Ibn Battuta Mall began its Diabetes Awareness Campaign in September including co-sponsorship of the “Jewels of Arabia” challenge, an inspiring journey to Jordan, made by 16 UAE-based adventurers to help alert the nation to the disease affecting their own population.

In October, the mall’s ‘Unite for Diabetes Awareness Centre’ was inaugurated, which offers complimentary services and diabetes testing for all visitors, including free blood sugar, blood pressure and body mass index check-up services, performed by experienced health professionals from Jebel Ali Hospital.

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