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Thousands of people from different age and Nationalities participating in the 11th edition of the annual Beat Diabetes Walk at Zabeel Park on Friday, November 15, 2019. Photo: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News Image Credit:

Dubai: Over 20,000 residents took part in the 11th 3-km ‘Beat Diabetes Walk’ around Zabeel Park on Friday morning to promote diabetes awareness while pledging to lead an active and healthier lifestyle.

Held in association with the Dubai Fitness Challenge this year, the event also doubled up as the closing ceremony of the month-long challenge, which encouraged residents to do at least 30 minutes of exercise for 30 days from October 18 to November 16.

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All proceeds from registrations to the annual walkathon will be contributed to the Al Jalila Foundation towards diabetes research, awareness and care. Since 2014, the Walk has raised over Dh3 million, contributing towards 15 research studies.

Renuka Jagtiani, Chairwoman and CEO of walkathon organisers Landmark Group, said: “It is great to see the community come together year on year to be a part of the Beat Diabetes Walk. We owe much of our success and growth of this initiative to the people of UAE, the leadership and our longstanding partners - Dubai Sports Council, Dubai Health Authority, Emirates Diabetes Society, Dubai Municipality Roads & Transport Authority and Dubai Police.

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Thousands of people from different age and Nationalities participating in the 11th edition of the annual Beat Diabetes Walk at Zabeel Park on Friday, November 15, 2019. Photo: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

“This year is even more special for us as we announce the launch of the Beat Diabetes Awards, to recognise the health-driven initiatives taken by schools in the UAE. Through the younger generation, we will continue our efforts to build a healthier nation.

“We are also taking our Beat Diabetes Walk to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. On 23rd Nov we will be hosting a 3-km community walk around the Jeddah Corniche,” she added.

Free blood glucose tests were conducted by Dubai Health Authority open for all participants at the Walk.

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Senior citizens participating in the 11th edition of the annual Beat Diabetes Walk at Zabeel Park on Friday, November 15, 2019. Photo: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dr Fatheya Al Awadi, Chair of DHA Diabetes Committee and Head of Endocrinology Department at Dubai Hospital said: “The increased incidence of diabetes is also attributed to a sedentary lifestyle. Walking is one of the best forms of exercise that will promote the wellness of the people. This initiative by Landmark Group in collaboration with DHA and EDS is significant in engaging the community meaningfully and making an investment in the biggest wealth of all – one’s health. It has also helped communicate the message of diabetes awareness to a large cross-section of the community.”

Participants also enjoyed a host of community-focused fitness, signature Imagine Fitness workout hosted by Fitness First and sports activities such as yoga and dance work outs. A Super Kidz Fun Arena kept the little ones engaged, where could enter the Creative Contest about healthy living along with fun activities like bouncy castle, energiser sessions, face painting and balloon bending.