Diabetes, a metabolic disease in which individuals have high blood sugar, either because of the body’s failure to produce insulin (type 1), or because their cells fail to respond to insulin produced (type 2), is on the rise in the Middle East. According to estimates by the International Diabetes Federation, 18.7 per cent of the UAE’s population is living with diabetes, against 10.3 per cent in the US, 7.8 per cent in India and 3.6 per cent in the UK. While it is treatable, there is no cure, and those with diabetes are believed to be at twice the risk of cardiovascular disease and often have a shorter life expectancy. International retail organisation the Landmark Group launched its corporate social responsibility scheme ‘Beat Diabetes’ in 2009, encouraging people to adopt a lifestyle that will help prevent them from developing the condition.
This year, the group has organised a walkathon, which takes place on Friday November 18. The walk will start at the Oasis Centre and cover approximately 3.1km, with cricketer and diabetes spokesperson Wasim Akram taking part. In 2010, the free walkathon attracted a crowd of 8,000, while numbers this year are expected to exceed 10,000, with participants able to register at Centrepoint, Home Centre, Fitness First, Max outlets and the Oasis Centre from Thursday November 10.
By 2030, it has been projected that the percentage of UAE residents with diabetes will increase to 21.4 per cent. At the moment, it is estimated that around 40 per cent of those with the condition in the country remain undiagnosed, a figure which will do nothing to abate diabetes’ reputation as a silent killer. With that in mind, residents are being encouraged to take advantage of the free blood glucose tests that will be offered at the Oasis Centre on November 14 (World Diabetes Day) from 10am-10pm, November 18 (the day of the walkathon) from 7am-10pm and November 19 from 10am-10pm. Whether you have diabetes, or are lucky enough not to, you’re invited to take part in the walkathon and do your bit to raise awareness.
To take part in Landmark Group’s free ‘Beat Diabetes’ Walkathon, fill out a form at any Centrepoint, Home Centre, Fitness First or Max outlet, or visit the Oasis Centre. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/BeatDiabetes. For more information on diabetes worldwide, visit the International Diabetes Federation at www.idf.org.
If you suffer from diabetes, there are a range of eateries with diabetic-friendly options. For instance, the all-day dining restaurants and room service menus at both the Grand Millennium, TECOM (04 429 9999)and the Millennium Airport Hotel (04 702 8888) in Garhoud are now offering special dishes including sandwiches, kebabs, soup and steak, which have been created specifically for those with diabetes, and will cost no more than regular dishes. Part of a long-term initiative by the hotel group, diabetic-friendly options will be added to menus across all restaurants.
Meanwhile, at Balance Wellbeing 360, specialist Ayurvedic exercise therapists now offer analysis sessions where they will look to identify the body type of an individual with diabetes in order to prescribe the most suitable, personalised fitness regime.
For diabetics, desserts can either be a minefield or a no-no. Fortunately, confectionary shop Candelite sells a range of guilt-free options, from sugar-free Swiss chocolate (100g bars from Dhs19) and tins of Turkish delight (10 pieces from Dhs16) to sugar-free French dark chocolate truffles (from Dhs35). Candelite, Ibn Battuta Mall (04 362 1900).