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Start Walking. Media Pack

02 Jul 2013
Abu Dhabi

Imperial College London Diabetes Centre’s award-winning campaign, ‘Diabetes-Knowledge-Action’ is encouraging the UAE to put on its walking shoes by announcing Start Walking. as the theme of the nation’s longest running public health awareness initiative. Now in its seventh year, ‘Diabetes-Knowledge-Action’ is under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak.

Start Walking. is set to run a collection of mini-walks between June and November leading up to the annual Walk 2013 walkathon at YAS Marina Circuit on November 15, the day after World Diabetes Day.

Individuals, groups and organisations nationwide can take part in Start Walking. by forming walking groups or events – with the campaign’s website regularly updated with ideas, downloadable posters and flyers.

Suhail Mahmood Al Ansari, Executive Director, Mubadala Healthcare and Chairman, Imperial College London Diabetes Centre confirmed that the campaign is calling for the nation to Start Walking. as part of the continuous healthy lifestyle drive to encourage the UAE community to work together to prevent and manage diabetes.

“This campaign helps to raise awareness of the growing prevalence of diabetes in the UAE and this year looks to inspire the community to arrange mini-walks at their companies, schools and universities, knowing that every step taken can help to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.”


Her Excellency, Dr Maha Taysir Barakat, the Director General of Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD) applauded the campaign for its steadfast promotion that a healthy diet and a brisk walk for 30 minutes every day has been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 58 per cent.

She confirmed that more than 371 million people worldwide are living with diabetes, citing the latest figures from the International Diabetes Federation suggesting that the condition affects 18.9 per cent of the UAE population, placing the Emirates at number 11 worldwide.

“Almost 50 per cent of people living with diabetes are not aware of their condition,” Dr Maha advised.

“The key to the prevention of type 2 diabetes, even in those with predisposing genes is to maintain regular physical activity such as a brisk walk each day, a normal body weight, and a balanced diet.”


Meanwhile, the National Health Insurance Company - Daman’s CEO Dr Michael Bitzer confirmed the firm’s full support for Imperial College London Diabetes Centre’s Start Walking. initiative, as well as Walk 2013. Daman has supported the event since it started in 2007.

Dr Bitzer strongly recommends walking for the important role it can play in achieving a healthy lifestyle.

“I am very pleased to see that this year’s event is energising everyone to walk regularly. Walk 2013 is one of the important channels that we as a company along with our members and the whole community can participate in, and create awareness on the benefits walking can do to fight diabetes and enjoy a healthy life.

“Here at Daman we are committed to promoting a healthy lifestyle as key to a community’s wellbeing. We will be participating again this year through ActiveLife; our health and wellness lifestyle programme that aims to foster healthy living habits; it offers discounts and special services from Daman’s retail partners, covering a range of products and services,” he added.


Turning to the event calendar, Richard Cregan, CEO of Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management said that Imperial College London Diabetes Centre’s initiative marries beautifully with the community activity at YAS Marina Circuit, the host venue of Walk 2013.

He confirmed that Start Walking. will be present at the venue’s signature events throughout the coming season.

“We run weekly TrainYAS and GoYAS fitness sessions at the track, with up to 2,000 and 1,000 participants respectively making for a perfect fit for the Start Walking. message.

“We too want more and more people to put on their walking shoes and join us each week. Talking while walking is a great, family-friendly way to catch up on your day – and keep fit, together.”

Cregan said that Tuesday’s TrainYAS programme supported by Daman’s ActiveLife is open to all the family, while Go YAS each Wednesday is an exclusive female-only fitness opportunity.

MINI WALKS KICKED OFF BY IMPERIAL COLLEGE LONDON DIABETES CENTRE                                                                                          

Al Ansari advised that commencing this month, Imperial College London Diabetes Centre has kick-started the Start Walking. initiative by hosting a number of cross-community events in the Centre’s facilities in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.

He said that Start Walking. is making an appearance at Imperial College London Diabetes Centre’s Abu Dhabi’s Patient Health Education Forum held regularly in both Abu Dhabi and Al Ain. Over the coming weeks, the focus will be Ramadan, Healthy Fasting and Walking.

He also confirmed that Imperial College London Diabetes Centre’s own team has jumped at the chance to kick off the inaugural community-driven walking events.

“Imperial College London Diabetes Centre Abu Dhabi and Al Ain will each host ‘Walk Around The Centre. Start Walking.’ at 5pm on June 24. More than 300 team members across the Centre’s two facilities for the treatment and prevention of diabetes are going all out to support Start Walking..

“They are creating an internal walking track marked out for a 3km brisk walk around the centres, and even offering stair climbs for those who want to try something different,” Al Ansari said.

The Start Walking. initiative will continue to rollout new ideas and activities throughout the year. Log onto or for updates.

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