6,000 are expected for diabetes walkathon.
The Al Rashid Group, a division of Dubai-based Landmark Retail Group, will mark World Diabetes Day (WDD) on Saturday by staging a walkathon to raise awareness about the condition, how to manage it and help prevent it in the future.
The seventh 'Beat Diabetes Walkathon', which attracted 5,000 participants last year, will be held at the Dohat Arad Park in Muharraq under the patronage of Minister for Defence Affairs Yusuf Al Jalahma and Muharraq Governor Salman bin Hindi, in cooperation with Bahrain Diabetic Association.
Organisers aim to attract around 6,000 supporters for the 3km walkathon.
Pauline Ansari, head of marketing at Landmark Group, said: "Diabetes unfortunately is on the rise in the region and in Bahrain.
"We aim to continue raising awareness about diabetes so that people know how to beat it, eat healthier and lead a healthier lifestyle. This year, we will have an educational avenue with different kiosks to teach people on how to eat in a healthy way and stay fit.
"The walkathon has grown in popularity. Every year we try to stage it on the same day as World Diabetes Day and we are lucky that this year it falls on a Saturday."
Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases in which a sufferer has high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body's cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both. Patients with high blood sugar will typically experience polyuria (frequent urination), they will become increasingly thirsty (polydipsia) and hungry (polyphagia).
WDD is the primary annual global awareness campaign of the diabetes world. It was first introduced in 1991 by the World Health Organisation in response to the alarming rise of diabetes around the world. While the campaigns last the whole year, the day itself marks the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best and John James Rickard Macleod, first conceived the idea which led to the discovery of insulin in 1922.
The Royal Bahrain Hospital and the Bahrain Specialist Hospital (BSH) will both be providing free blood glucose screening as well as checking for obesity at the event.
Dr Sunil J Rao, BSH internal medicine specialist, said: "This event will increase the visibility of the problem in Bahrain and the region.
"The prevalence of diabetes in Bahrain is about 19 per cent; one in five Bahrainis are diabetic. By eating right and exercising people can either beat it and prevent it, or if they do develop it, then it can help them manage it. Also, it's important to do timely screenings. Diabetes in many cases can have a silent onset. It can manifest itself over years which is why the screenings help."
Dietary experts Carlton Nutrition Centre and Weight Watchers Bahrain will also be present to educate walkers on what to eat and what not to eat. After breaking into a sweat from the walk, Fitnessfirst and Sports One will provide free work out sessions at the venue.
The event will also feature entertainment as well as activities for the whole family to enjoy.
The group launched the 'Beat Diabetes' initiative in 2009 citing the wide prevalence of this condition across the region. Participants who register at the event will be provided with a T-shirt, wrist band as well as refreshments.
The event was announced earlier in the week with a press conference at the Movenpick Hotel Bahrain featuring a panel of doctors, a fruit taste testing, a free glucose screening by the Royal Bahrain Hospital, a smoothie station, fitness experts providing exercise tips and healthy finger foods and nibbles.
People can register online at www.beatdiabetes.me or head to any registration desk at Oasis Mall Muharraq, Oasis Mall East Riffa, Marina Mall and at Home Centre, Max and Centrepoint in Bahrain City Centre.
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