TAB_130707 DU / 07 July 2013 / Hussein Al Jasmi (Emirati singer), during the Launch of a DU health and fitness initiative at the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai. PHOTO by Abdel-Krim Kallouche/Gulf News Image Credit:

Emirati singer Hussain Al Jasmi wants to make the UAE healthier.

Al Jasmi, who at his heaviest weighed in at 184 kilograms, has just been made the ambassador of Every Step Counts, a wellness campaign launched by telecom operator du on Tuesday. The singer, who underwent gastric bypass surgery in 2010, says he has changed his lifestyle to include daily exercise and healthier, lighter foods.

“I hope to be a good example [to Emirati society] with my interest in my health and how I look,” Al Jasmi said. “I consider it a noble goal to create an educated, aware society.”

Al Jasmi said the turning point for him was when he went on umrah (voluntary pilgrimage) and was unable to complete the rites due to his excess weight and poor health. He has performed three umrahs since his surgery.

The du campaign promotes healthy eating, exercise and better sleep, and the company will be organising indoor charity walkathons throughout the upcoming month of Ramadan, which is often associated with large, heavy meals and traditional Arabic deserts after the fast has ended.

Al Jasmi said that he would definitely continue exercising during Ramadan in order to set a good example, adding that he found exercise to be cathartic, helping him to clear his thoughts and even write songs.

“I purposely run in public places to interact with people who may see me and come up to me,” Al Jasmi said.

“Some people tell me I looked better at 200 [kilos],” he said, laughing. “And I agree! But for health, it’s another thing.”

The singer added that he would be happy to rejoin X Factor Arabia as a judge for the reality show’s second season if his time allowed. He is also a UN Goodwill Ambassador and Ambassador at Large for IIMSAM, a non-government organisation which fights malnutrition in developing countries.

For more on Every Step Counts and how to be part of it, go to du.ae/step