(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) 'Walk to live longer and celebrate life' - it was an overbearing message from the thousands of health conscious residents who hit the iconic Yas Marina Circuit for 11th edition of Imperial College London Diabetes Centre's annual walkathonon Fridayevening.
The crowd started coming in from1 pmonwards and there were host of fun-filled family activities to keep them entertained till5 pmwhen the walk began.
There were jugglers, trampolines, bouncy castles, bubble football and 'happiness and health' wall among host of activities. Also, DJs kept the thousands in groove and Zumba session acted as a warm-up before the residents hit 5km walk. And taking all by surprise was an eye-catching fly past in national colours.
Department of Health in Abu Dhabi, director of public health, Dr Omniyat Al Hajri said creating awareness of chronic diseases and promoting the adoption of a healthy lifestyle among residents is one of the main objectives of the Department of Health.
According to International Diabetes Federation statistics, in 2015 up to 19.3 per cent of the population between the ages of 20 and 79 have Type-II diabetes. And number of people with diabetes is expected to double to 2.2 million by 2040.
"We consider diabetes and other similar chronic diseases need to be addressed through education, awareness and community engagement. Through collaborative partnerships such as ICLDC's Walk 2017, we can unite our efforts to have a more profound impact on society," Omniyat said.
While thousands turned up for health reason, Ahmed Khalid had another reason to turn up - Formula One.
"I have my entire family here to be part of diabetes drive. I will be back next week as Lewis Hamilton will set this place on fire," Khalid said as he hit the starting line-up."
The 11th edition of ICLDC's Walk 2017 was held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak. With this event, ICLDC diabetes centre and part of Mubadala's network of healthcare providers, aims to raise awareness on diseases and encourage people to have an active lifestyle. Walk 2017 was also supported by the Department of Health in Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi Sports Council, and Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and Healthpoint.
According to organisers, up to '20,000 participants or there about' would have been at the event.