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Story | Research
16 November 2019

Putting their best foot forward for diabetes awareness


The annual Diabetes Walkathon at Qatar Foundation drove home the message that exercise is crucial to preventing the disease.

More than 8,000 people took a stride toward increasing awareness of one of the most common diseases in the Arab world as they joined the annual Diabetes Walkathon at Qatar Foundation’s Oxygen Park.

Attended by His Excellency Sheikh Joaan Bin Hamad Al-Thani, President of the Qatar Olympic Committee, the event at Education City – hosted by Qatar Diabetes Association (QDA) – was held under the theme Protect Your Family, with the aim of raising realization that reducing the risk of diabetes starts at home, and that it can be prevented and managed through exercise and living an active life.

Held to mark World Diabetes Day, the walkathon also allowed participants to get tips on healthy living, diabetes screening, and how to prevent complications arising from the disease from educational booths, while enjoying a range of sporting activities – and donning the customary cap and T-shirt that are a feature of the community event.

“The continuously high level of participation in the Diabetes Walkathon – which draws thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds from throughout the country – reflects the prevalence of diabetes in our country and our region, and the level of public commitment to raising awareness of how it can be tackled and treated,” said Dr. Abdulla Al Hamaq, Executive Director of QDA, which is a member of Qatar Foundation.

“Physical activity is pivotal to reducing the risk of diabetes, and through this walkathon we aim to emphasize that message while also providing people with the opportunity to exercise, interact, and have fun. Diabetes can affect any family, any person, and the way in which the community of Qatar show their support for this event every year demonstrates the widespread public recognition of this fact and their dedication to playing their part in combating the disease.”

As well as raising awareness about Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, QDA also focuses on prediabetes, where people have a level of blood glucose that is above normal but below the threshold for diabetes to be diagnosed. “People with prediabetes fall into the high-risk bracket for developing Type 2 diabetes,” said Dr. Al Hamaq, “so targeting this group is one of our key priorities, in order to safeguard their health.

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“Research from around the world has shown that making lifestyle modifications and healthy choices – from lifestyle to diet – can delay or prevent Type 2 diabetes, which is why we encourage people to recognize the importance of regular physical activity and its benefits to their health.”

The Diabetes Walkathon’s health partners are Qatar Biomedical Research Institute, the Primary Health Care Corporation, the Ministry of Public Health, Qatar Metabolic Institute, and Hamad Medical Corporation, with sport partners including Qatar Football Association, Qatar Women’s Sports Committee, the Qatar Sports For All Federation, Qatar Cyclists, and Anytime Fitness.

For World Diabetes Day, The Torch Doha, the Ministry of Interior building, and Qatar National Convention Centre’s Sidra tree were all lit in blue to further spread the diabetes awareness message.

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