(MENAFN - Gulf Times)
Over 5,000 Qatar residents came together to raise awareness about diabetes during the 8th annual walkathon organised on Friday at the Oxygen Park in Qatar Foundation's Education City by the Landmark Group and Qatar Diabetes Association (QDA).
The 1.5km walk started at 2.30pm. The participants wore blue T-shirts and caps provided by the organisers.
Large groups representing schools and various organisations cheered loudly in support of the walkathon. Children lined up to have their faces painted.
Fitness First led a pre-walkathon mass warm-up session that was followed by Landmark Group Qatar COO Santosh Pai and Qatar Diabetes Association executive director Dr Abdulla al-Hamaq releasing blue balloons -- symbolic of diabetes awareness -- to flag off the walkathon.
At the end of the walk, participants were treated to healthy snacks. To reinforce the core message of early detection, free blood glucose testing booths were set up at the venue.
Pai recalled that every year, this platform helps to remind people of the magnitude of the threat posed by diabetes and the simplicity with which the condition can be managed.
'Through the Beat Diabetes initiative, Landmark Group encourages people to stay proactive about their own health and the well-being of their loved ones. We want people to make a conscious effort to lead healthier lifestyles and regularly monitor their blood glucose levels. These are essential to the long-term health of our family, community and nation.
Dr al-Hamaq pointed out that during November, people from all over the world are taking part in Diabetes Walks to mark the World Diabetes Day.
'We organise our walkathon annually to create diabetes awareness and to recognise people who live with diabetes in Qatar and worldwide. By walking and during the whole day events we took important steps towards developing a wider understanding of diabetes.
'We are indeed thankful and pleased with the partnership of the Landmark Group who have shared with us the responsibility in highlighting the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices. And I also would like to thank Qatar Foundation for their valuable support and efforts to make this walkathon a real success.
Recent figures from the seventh edition of the International Diabetes Federation's Diabetes Atlas indicate that the number of people living with diabetes around the world is expected to rise from 415mn to 642mn by 2040.
A sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits and low levels of awareness are noted as key contributors to the rapid incidence of type 2 diabetes in Middle East and North Africa.