Nearly one in every five person in the UAE suffers from diabetes, according to a latest report published by International Diabetes Federation on November 14, 2015, which suggests that 19.3 per cent of the UAE population is living with the killer disease.
More than 37 million people in the Middle East and North Africa are diabetic and by 2035 this will rise to 68 million. There were 803,900 cases of diabetes in UAE in 2014.
“In recent years, we have seen a (rapid) rise in type 2 diabetes across all age groups,” said the report. “The UAE is ranked 16th worldwide, with 19 per cent of the UAE population living with diabetes. These statistics indicate that the region has high risk factors for diabetes, mostly related to rising obesity rates and physical inactivity. Risks of cardiovascular disease and stroke are up to six times higher in people with diabetes. Traditionally, type 2 diabetes is referred to as adult-onset diabetes. However, in recent years diabetes has reached epidemic levels worldwide, with children as young as seven year developing diabetes,” it said.
In order to address this issue and save the future generation from the disease, Al Ghurair Investment, a diversified UAE conglomerate, held a Diabetes Awareness Programme for the children of Al Noor Special Needs School at Dubai Mall’s Kidzania on Monday, November 16, 2015, where participants were told about healthy eating and living habits in order to help them avoid such health problems at a later stage.
Sameera Fernandes, Head of Corporate Affairs & Communications at Al Ghurair Investment, spoke on how to combat the disease with three easy steps. “Live Healthy, Eat Healthy and Explore,” she told the youngsters. “It is important to eat healthy food to be able to lead a healthy and long life free of diseases and be able to enjoy and explore the opportunities around us,” she said. “Most of these diseases are due to lifestyle-related issues. All we need to do is just be aware and tweak our lifestyle and eating habits to tackle them,” she added.
A sedentary lifestyle and bad eating habits are cited as the main causes of the increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes in the UAE. It is becoming increasingly clear that type 2 diabetes is associated with decreasing levels of activity and an increasing prevalence of obesity. 387 million people have diabetes in the world and more than 37 million people in the MENA Region; by 2035 this will rise to 68 million. There were 803,900 cases of diabetes in UAE in 2014.
“Early detection of pre-diabetes can lead to the prevention of diabetes, and with the implementation of lifestyle changes can greatly reduce the risk of related complications, including blindness, heart attack and stroke,” Sameera Fernandes said.
In its report, the International Diabetes Federation, said, “Just 10 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity three or more times a day can result in health benefits. Eat right, exercise regularly and live for life,” said the report.
Welcoming the young participants, Andries Fourie, General Manager of KidZania, said, “This children’s city prepares kids and instils in them professional values, the importance of work, dignity of labour, teamwork, creativity and even money management. This is an important event that we are marking as part of the Diabetes Awareness Month. We need your support in spreading the word – to prevent diabetes by developing healthy eating habits.”
New figures from International Diabetes Federation suggest that 387 million are living with diabetes worldwide, up from 382 million a year ago.
Lorna Watts, Marketing Manager of Al Ghurair Foods, stressed on the importance of healthy and nutritious food. “Al Ghurair Foods through its premium brand Jenan offers healthy diet with nutritious offerings such as fresh local eggs, locally produced Oats, Pasta and Noodles – all integral components in a diet. At the event we were able to share insights with the children on what they should eat in order to live a healthy life,” she said.
Carine Harb, Director – Marketing, Rotana Hotels and Resorts, spoke on how healthy cooking is important and how kids can learn to make small things like oats bars – good breakfast cereal and great way to start the day. “One doesn’t have to change the entire lifestyle, however just changing the eating habits as well as little bit of physical activity could do wonders – that’s what the children have learnt at the session,” she said.
Anis Kurniawan, Pastry Chef, John Gomes, Rotana Chef and their team offered live demos on healthy food preparation and nutrition at the event that was aimed more at the healthy eating awareness than the culinary aspect.
Also commented Carla Xavier, Al Noor Special Needs School, “The children are delighted to learn and explore various careers and opportunities at KidZania. Initiatives such as these are a great platform for promoting health awareness and teaching children how to stay active and healthy.”