Abu Dhabi: The country will come together in the fight against diabetes where more than 10,000 people from around the capital city will cover a five-kilometre route along the Corniche at the 'Walk UAE 2007' walkathon.

Recent figures suggest that one out of five people in the UAE aged 20 to 79 live with diabetes and that the UAE has the second highest diabetes rates worldwide.

'Walk UAE 2007' is scheduled during the 'World Diabetes Month' in November.

The walkathon 'Start Walking, Prevent Diabetes' is scheduled to take place on November 23 at 3pm with hundreds of families, business teams and individuals across the UAE participating. The World Diabetes Day is observed on November 14.

"Diabetes must be stamped [out] and we are ready to put our weight behind the effort in encouraging the nation to join ... in 'Walk UAE 2007'," said Mubarak Al Muhairi, Director General, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA). The walkathon is supported by ADTA with joint efforts from Abu Dhabi's Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), the Emirates Foundation and the National Health Insurance Company (Daman).

Dr Maha Taysir Barakat, Consultant Endocrinologist and Medical and Research Director, ICLDC, said that regular exercise is crucial to maintain a healthy lifestyle and applauded the initiative.


"We are right behind the drive to kick out diabetes from the UAE and hope that ... 10,000 people and more will participate in the 'Walk UAE 2007'," added Dr Michael Bitzer, CEO, Daman.

The campaign is already a success, with more than 30,000 people receiving consultation in the 'I Wonder' diabetes screening programme launched in April.

During Ramadan, ICDLC organised a nightly cookery show 'I Cook Healthy' at the Abu Dhabi Marina Mall.