The Walk 2017 is part of a national campaign to raise awareness about diabetes in the country Image Credit: Supplied

ABU DHABI: One of the capital’s largest community events, Walk 2017, returns on November 17 for its 11th edition. To be held at Yas Marina Circuit, the 5km walkathon is part of a national campaign to raise awareness about diabetes in the country.

The annual event is conducted by the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC) with the support of Healthpoint and Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

“Walk 2017 allows residents to experience the excitement of doing something together about their fitness. It shows that with a little determination, one can be healthy and happy. The smallest steps can help us prevent, control and even reverse diabetes,” said Dr Farhana Bin Lootah, Internal Medicine Consultant at ICLDC.

Walk the talk

The Walk was launched in 2007 by ICLDL in response to the growing concerns about the health threat posed by diabetes. Every November, in celebration of World Diabetes Day, the campaign hosts its signature walkathon, attracting more and more participants every year. The event attracted 4,500 residents when it was launched in 2007; this year the organisers are expecting over 20,000 participants.

“With something as simple as walking 30 minutes a day, we can lower our risk of heart disease and stroke, reduce body fat, and manage conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes,” said Dr. Farhana. “Walking releases mood-boosting endorphins and serotonin. It really is the small regular habits that make all the difference.”

Dr Farhana said the event aims to drive home the importance of a strong support network, especially for children. According to the latest records, 19.3 per cent of the UAE population suffers from diabetes with 36 per cent overweight and more than 39 per cent on borderline obesity. “When we see our young patients for the first time, both child and parent become anxious about what this will mean for the future. We need to be open and honest with the children, send out positive messages and build their confidence. We must make them understand that just because they have diabetes, it doesn’t mean they can’t live a normal life.”

The day will be packed with family-friendly fun, healthy food and beverage and live entertainment. Activities include wall climbing, gladiator challenge, and bubble football among others. The fun will start at 3pm.

Tickets cost Dh10. Free entry for children under 16 years. Doors open at 2pm and ‘walking’ starts at 5pm. For more info visit www.icldc.ae/diabetes/walkForLife/walk-on#Home