Abu Dhabi: The first 2,000 residents who register for Friday's diabetes walkathon, the Walk UAE 2010, will receive free tickets to the Nelly Furtado concert on Yas Island.

Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), the organisers of Walk UAE 2010 that starts at 3pm on Friday, plans to give away 4,000 tickets to residents to be part of the singer-songwriter performance at the Yas Arena beginning at 7pm tonight.

Abu Dhabi's fourth annual walkathon is part of ICLDC's award-winning public health awareness campaign held under the patronage of Shaikha Fatima Bint Mubarak.

International Diabetes Federation (IDF) reports that diabetes treatment takes up 40 per cent of the annual UAE health-care budget as more than 680,000 youngsters below 20 years of age are diagnosed with the disease.

IDF figures for 2010 reveal diabetes affects up to 18.7 per cent of the UAE population making it one with the highest incidence of the condition worldwide. The UAE Ministry of Health (MoH) spends up to Dh44,314 per patient.

Unhealthy diet

The report also predicts that diabetes prevalence in the UAE among the 20-79 age group will reach 21.4 per cent by 2030, with diabetes mellitus contributing to 75 per cent of the mortality rate among Emiratis and 31 per cent of expatriates.

In the Gulf region with a population of approximately 33 million, there are more than 3.5 million diabetes patients. In addition, children as young as ten are being diagnosed with the disease, again due to obesity, coupled with physical inactivity, and unhealthy diet and hypertension.

A sedentary lifestyle and bad eating habits have been blamed for the increasing prevalence of diabetes in the UAE. Walk UAE 2010 has shown that it has the ability to draw public attention to the importance of regular exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle that is good for all in the family.


Gate 6 Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi

• Doors open at 3pm

• Walk Starts at 5pm


From Corniche: Follow the Corniche to the new Sheikh Khalifa Bridge, onto the Saadiyat-Shahama highway. Continue on the highway until exit for Yas West, then follow the signs to Yas Marina Circuit, Gate 6.

From Abu Dhabi: Head out of Abu Dhabi towards Dubai, on the E10 Highway (Sheikh Maktoum bin Rashid Road). Once you pass the Raha Beach development (on your left), take the exit for Yas West, then follow the signs to Yas Marina Circuit, Gate 6.

From Dubai: Take E11 (Sheikh Zayed Road) towards Abu Dhabi. Once you pass Shahama, take the exit to Yas West, then follow the signs to Yas Marina Circuit, Gate 6.