Bahawooddin Saiyed receiving the award from Dr Raza Siddiqui-1671536098177
Winner of RAK Diabetes Challenge 2022 Bahawddin Saiyed receiving his prize from Dr Raza Siddiqui after a three-month-long competition. Image Credit: Supplied

Ras Al Khaimah: A British man aged 58 and a Pakistani woman, 35, won Dh5,000 each after emerging as the male and female winners of RAK Diabetes Challenge 2022 (RAKDC22).

The 3-month-long Challenge concluded on Tuesday by distributing prizes worth Dh40,000 to winners at a ceremony in the premises of RAK Hospital in Ras Al Khaimah.

The challenge aimed at reducing the biomarkers of the disease proved that diabetes can be very effectively managed and even reversed by modifying your lifestyle.

Successful weight loss stories

This was evident from the fact that almost all the participants showed significant improvement in their HbA1C levels, bringing it from an average reading of 7.49 (diabetic) down to 5.07 (non-diabetic) along with an average weight loss of 4kg and a five per cent improvement in overall lifestyle index, the organisers said.

As many as 70 per cent of the participants were overweight and had an HbA1C of above 5.7 at the beginning of the competition.

The winners speak

Bagging Dh5000 cash prize, Bahawooddin Saiyed, a 58-year-old British national, a teacher by occupation and a resident of Sharjah emerged as the overall winner and also received the first prize in the Physical Category, Male. He achieved an overall indexed improvement of 38.38 per cent marked by around 50 per cent reduction in HbA1C levels to 5.8 and a weight loss of 11kg.

Saira Waseem Malik receives the first prize-1671536104716

Saira Waseem Malik was the recipient of similar honours in the female category of physical participants having demonstrated a total improvement of 28.73 per cent.

Looking back at the journey and experiences of the last 12 weeks with RAK Diabetes Challenge 2022, Saiyed said: “The journey started with having the determination to succeed in winning this battle against this silent killer. Knowing that Type 2 diabetes can be reversed and also seeing the effect it has had on certain members of my family I was intent on turning things around.”

Dietary changes

“With the support of my family, I made the necessary dietary changes and most of all reduced my portion sizes, ate my meals at prescribed times, increased vegetable intake, reduced rice, potato and bread intake and didn’t eat after 7pm. The dietary changes had to go hand in hand with walking for 35/40 minutes on a daily basis. To increase one’s longevity; we need to consider making lifestyle changes. It’s a must rather than a wish. This is by no means over for me; it is just the start of a journey to achieving a healthier lifestyle.”

He said the weekly webinars by RAK Hospital medical experts kept him motivated too. “They gave a great deal of insight into what diabetes is and how it can be overcome — thanks for this. A great deal of effort has been put into this initiative and I congratulate the RAK Hospital leadership team for driving this forward.”

Talking about her journey, an ecstatic Waseem said: “I have been a diabetic for the last 10 years but this is the very first time that my HbA1C reached within its desired range. It is really a big achievement for me. And all this was possible because of the RAK Diabetes Challenge. It motivated me to make changes in my lifestyle by providing guidance on meal plans, exercise routine and other things, the weekly webinars conducted as part of the challenge were immensely helpful. I was encouraged to incorporate regular walks into my schedule. I cannot thank RAK Hospital enough for initiating me into this journey of transformation, now I feel more energetic and active. I think health-related challenges like these should be held every once in a while to keep us motivated and healthy.”

Various categories of winners

RAK Diabetes Challenge 2022, a novel concept launched for the first time in the country in association with the Ministry of Health and Prevention, Ras Al Khaimah, witnessed nearly 3000 enrolments and participants vying actively for the top three spots across various groups- Physical Category (Male), Physical Category (Female) and Virtual Category. The corporate sector also actively engaged by registering their employees for the competition.

The second and third-prize winners in both the male and female categories received cash prizes of Dh3000 and Dh2000 respectively.

The winners of the RAKDC22 Corporate Challenge were Stevin Rock and Saqr Port.

In the virtual category, Sindu George Bosco surpassed the rest of the challengers. She, along with second and third-ranked contestants, received staycation vouchers from Waldorf Astoria Ras Al Khaimah. Additionally, the top 10 participants from across all categories received a complimentary RAK Hospital Swiss Health Check Voucher worth Dh1500 each.

Khalid Abdulla Mohammed AlShehhi, Director of the Representative Office, Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) — Ras Al Khaimah was as the chief guest at the ceremony.

A huge leap

Congratulating the winners and participants alike, Dr. Raza Siddiqui, executive director, RAK Hospital said the phenomenal success of the challenge was a huge leap towards the hospital’s goal of leading society and people from illness to wellness.

“It clearly establishes that we can win the battle against the global pandemic of diabetes by adopting a continually holistic and preventive lifestyle. The results of RAK Diabetes Challenge 2022 would encourage one and all to develop a healthier lifestyle in general whilst accelerating the adoption of a multi-disciplinary approach in the overall management of diabetes.”

Managing diabetes

Prof. Adrian Kennedy, chief wellness Officer, Arabian Wellness and Lifestyle Management, the wellness division of RAK Hospital stated: “If not managed well, diabetes causes a wide range of complications including, and not limited to, coronary artery disease, diabetic retinopathy, kidney problems, atherosclerosis, diabetic neuropathy etc leading to a huge drop in quality of life for patients and their caretakers. Through RAK Diabetes Challenge 2022, our attempt was to bring a positive change for individuals, communities and society by empowering them with the information and education essential for the superior medical and lifestyle management of diabetes.”

As a result of the challenge, the participants are healthier and lighter and benefit from a considerably diminished risk of various life-threatening complications caused by high levels of HbA1c. All the participants were assessed on improvement in their blood glucose levels, weight, BMI and lifestyle at the beginning and end of the challenge. An automated formula, in conformity with global practices, devised by RAK Hospital was used to evaluate the overall indexed progress of each participant and for identifying the winners.

Winners (Physical Category — Male)
1. Bahawooddin Saiyed
2. Rizwan Rahat
3. Michael Formales Mascarina
Winners (Physical Category — Female)
1. Saira Waseem Malik
2. Lourdes Mapoy Dimaunahan
3. Sapana joshi
Winners (Virtual Category)
1. Sindu George Bosco
2. Zarina Begum
3. Paramprit Kaur Harkirat Singh
Winners (Corporate Category)
1. Stevin Rock
2. Saqr Port