Walking for a cause

ABU DHABI - On a clear and bright Friday morning, over 1,500 health-conscious residents of the capital took part in a Walkathon to contribute their mite to the efforts being made to fight diabetics and heart diseases.

By Haseeb Haider

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Published: Sat 18 Oct 2003, 12:35 PM

Last updated: Wed 1 Apr 2015, 11:38 PM

The five-kilometre walkathon was organised by Abu Dhabi Municipality, Department of Health and Medical Services, Emirates Cardiac Society, Emirates Heart Society, Emirates Diabetics Society in association with Hoffmann-La Roche and others to observe the World Heart Day. The walk was organised to spread awareness against a discease that can be prevented simply by following a healthier lifestyle. Dana Abdul Hamid Hashem walked away with the Walkathon prize of a return air ticket to Bangkok.

According to Reema Khadra, product manager at Hoffmann-La Roche: "With obesity figures on the rise in the region, the Walkathon was designed to raise awareness on this disease and how to combat it with healthy lifestyle habits such as a simple exercise in the form of walking." She said the event had also been organised to raise money for local charitable institutions such as the Dubai Autism Centre and Future Centre.

This year, the Ministry of Health stepped in to support the event in a bid to raise community awareness on obesity and related diseases.

"We want to make people aware that even a simple lifestyle change can make a big difference to weight loss in the long run. At the Walkathon, we will educate people on health issues such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure," said Dr Abdul Ghaffar Abdul Ghafour, Assistant Under-Secretary for Curative Medicine, the Ministry of Health. "We are pleased to be part of this event and spread the importance of a healthy lifestyle to UAE residents," he said.

Stalls were set up near Marina Mall where participants had their Body Mass Index (BMI) measured by the XeniCareTM Support Program team besides their blood sugar tested free of charge by Roche Diagnostics.

"Walking is one of the easiest, convenient and beneficial forms of exercise for anyone, of any age, to take up. Sedentary lifestyles have led to increase cases of cardiovascular disease, making it important for us to encourage people to take up some form of exercise, such as walking," said Salem bin Mesmar, Director of Public Health Department, Dubai Municipality.

The Walkathon in Dubai will be held at 9am on October 24 at the Creekside by the British Consulate. Free registration starts at 8am at the location. While participation is free of cost, all walkers will be encouraged to donate to the UAE-based charities.

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