Let’s walk for a healthy life

Let’s walk for a healthy life

The walk, organised by the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (Haad), was part of the ‘Healthy Children 2021’ campaign.

By Olivia Olarte-ulherr/senior Reporter

Published: Thu 23 Apr 2015, 1:14 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:41 PM

Students participating in the Let's Walk campaign in Abu Dhabi. -KT photo by Nezar Balout

Abu Dhabi - Let’s get physical, ‘Let’s Walk’ and be healthy. This was the message imparted by about 1,000 students who took a few hours off their classes on Tuesday morning to take part in a walk at the Abu Dhabi Corniche.

The walk, organised by the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (Haad), was part of the ‘Healthy Children 2021’ campaign, an initiative by the UAE government aimed at reducing child obesity to 12 per cent by 2021.

Run by the National Programme for Government Communication, ‘Healthy Children 2021’, endeavours to fight obesity and its many accomplices by launching nationwide awareness campaigns focusing on changing bad eating habits and overcoming sedentary lifestyles. The message was reinforced further by the participation of Emirati footballers Ismail Matar and Abdulsalam Jumaa, who interacted with the students, gave autographs and posed with them.

The one-kilometre walk which started from the Mubarak Bin Mohammed Street, was held in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Education Council, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, Abu Dhabi City Municipality and the Abu Dhabi Police.

 Dealing with obesity in kids

Dr Jamal Khamis Al Mutawa Al Naqbi, manager of community health and surveillance at Haad, said ‘Let’s Walk’ was a continuation of its strategies and that of the local authorities here such as the ‘Eat Right, Get Active’ programme at schools and the new school canteen guidelines.

“We are all working together to reduce obesity among children,” he told Khaleej Times.

According to him, despite efforts, there are still many factors that lead to children becoming obese.

These include parents’ lack of interest in engaging themselves or their children in any activity, easy accessibility of unhealthy meals, not participating in any sport, as well as, the prevalent use of iPad and video games.

Parents are role models

“Parents are the main player (on this). When children find parents are moving and doing some activity they will copy them. They should find a (sports) club for them to join,” he suggested.

“Our message to the community is, please encourage your children to move and do it yourself too, and watch your food,” Dr Al Naqbi urged. -olivia@khaleejtimes.com

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