Abu Dhabi: Hundreds of supporters are expected to attend the first community football tournament to be held during Ramadan, named 'I Play Sports', to help raise awareness and fight the spread of diabetes in the UAE.

According to a report issued by the World Health Organisation, the UAE has the second highest prevalence of diabetes in the world and the figures are expected to double by 2025.

It is estimated that 19.5 per cent of the UAE's population (ages 20 to 79) have diabetes.

Ten corporate teams will be competing in the tournament from September 9 to 14 at the Zayed Sports City.

Studies suggest that 30 minutes of brisk walking per day reduces the chance of developing diabetes by 58 per cent, Dr Maha Taysir Barakat, Consultant Endocrinologist and Medical and Research Director at the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), said on Monday.

Hidden fat

"This is the fifth public health campaign we have launched at the ICLDC with the initiative of changing people's lifestyles," said Barakat.

"You can have a slim body but hidden fat around the liver and intestines predisposes a person to diabetes.

"Exercise and dieting are essential, that's our message through this tournament," he said.

Teams will compete for a trophy with prizes also available for the best goal keeper and best scorer. The winner will also partner ICLDC for a year in campaigns targeted against diabetes.