Over 20,000 Take Part In Beat Diabetes Walk In Dubai

It kicked off with a relay race of senior citizens organised by the Dubai Sports Council.

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Zaabeel Park on Friday transformed into a fitness hub as over 20,000 people from all walks of life went around the park wearing blue t-shirts to create awareness on diabetes.

They were participating in the 11th edition of the ‘Beat Diabetes Walk’, Landmark Group’s annual flagship CSR initiative. It kicked off with a relay race of senior citizens organised by the Dubai Sports Council. Around 15 senior citizens, mostly over 70, jogged around the park being cheered on by thousands of onlookers and participants who had gathered for the event.

Zakaria Alassar, in his 70s, said: “I feel it is important to join hands and create awareness about this disease. Many of my friends are suffering from it, which is why today I, along with some more senior citizens, have come together to raise awareness about this disease. It was such a fantastic start to our day to see so many happy and smiling faces of people from different nationalities walking for a meaningful cause.”

Participants included thousands of students as well as employees and families, who danced and grooved as they walked and danced to the DJ present in the park. These included free workout sessions by Fitness First and sports activities such as yoga. A Super Kidz Fun Arena kept the little ones engaged.

Speaking on behalf of JSS Private school that saw the participation of about 75 students, parents and teachers; Gwen Dickenson, happiness and events designer at the school said: ” This is a great way of inculcating empathy in students towards the community as we believe this would help in moulding them into responsible citizens of the future.”

Held in association with the Dubai Fitness Challenge this year, the event also doubled as a closing ceremony of the thirty-day challenge that ends today.

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The 3km walkathon was held with the support of the Dubai Sports Council, Dubai Health Authority (DHA), Emirates Diabetes Society (EDS), Dubai Municipality, Roads & Transport Authority and Dubai Police. All proceeds from the registrations will be contributed to Al Jalila Foundation towards diabetes research, awareness and care. Since 2014, the walk has raised over Dh 3million, contributing towards 15 research studies.

Leading the walk from the front was Renuka Jagtiani, chairwoman and CEO of Landmark Group, who talked about the importance of educating children about the disease.

“It is important to educate children from a young age about this disease as it affects a lot of children so it is important to get them thinking about how to be healthy and build their taste for healthy food rather than junk. To encourage children we have also created a Beat Diabetes Awards for schools to recognize the health-driven initiatives taken by schools in the UAE. Through the younger generation, we will continue our efforts to build a healthier nation,” Jagtiani added.

 “We are also taking our Beat Diabetes Walk to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and on November 23 we will be hosting a 3km community walk around the Jeddah Corniche.”

Also, free blood glucose tests were conducted by Dubai Health Authority for all participants. Dr Fatheya Al Awadi, Chair of DHA Diabetes Committee and Head of Endocrinology Department at Dubai Hospital said: “The increased incidence of diabetes is also attributed to a sedentary lifestyle. Walking is one of the best forms of exercise that will promote the wellness of the people. This initiative by Landmark Group in collaboration with DHA and EDS is significant in engaging the community meaningfully and making an investment in the biggest wealth of all – one’s health. It has also helped communicate the message of diabetes awareness to a large cross-section of the community.

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