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Doha spurred into action to mark World Health Day

Non-communicable diseases account for 69% of all deaths in Qatar

Gulf News

Manama: Hundreds of Qatar residents braved the dusty weather and commemorated World Health Day, spurred into action by the Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF).

“Participants traded in their weekend couches for trainers and shook off the inaction by joining in AZF’s latest community-engagement programme ‘step into health’, swapping tea with teeing at a specially set up mini golf course, and taking a swipe at picture-taking in a social media competition,” organisers said on Saturday.

The exercise from 4pm to 7pm was a most welcome change for people in Qatar amid reports by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that physical inactivity is now regarded as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. In Qatar, and according to the latest (WHO) statistics, non-communicable diseases account for 69 per cent of all deaths in the country, with cardiovascular diseases and diabetes (CVDs) making up the highest percentage with 23 per cent.

“High blood pressure is generally a result of a sedentary lifestyle playing as much of a role as genetics in CVDs,” Abdullah Al Mohannedi, Researcher in Health Promotion at Aspetar, a member-organisation of Aspire Zone Foundation, said. “At Aspire, we are entrusted with realising the goals of a healthy nation that enjoys both a healthy mind and body.”

Reports stress that high blood pressure can lead to a number of life-threatening diseases, including heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, diabetes and obesity. However, rising levels can be controlled by regular health checks-up at least once a year, as well as a limited intake of salt, a healthy diet and an active lifestyle.

According to recent research, most people only walk between 3,000 and 5,000 steps a day. However, 10,000 steps a day is needed to equal three hours of exercise a week — the recommended hours of exercise. “My personal record thus far is 38,000 steps a day and this is only the beginning,” the World Health Day event’s Female Top Walker, Shagrah Al Mohammadi, said. “I am a huge health and fitness fan and I especially love cardio exercises. I want to try and beat my own record in the future.”