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Over 20000 Participants Take 50 Million Steps to Raise Awareness at Beat Diabetes Walkathon at Zabeel Park

Dubai-UAE: 01 Dec 2013

Beat Diabetes, Landmark Group's diabetes awareness initiative, witnessed an unprecedented response from residents of the UAE at the fifth annual Beat Diabetes Walkathon held at Zabeel Park. More than 20,000 participants took a total number of 50 million steps in a bid to raise awareness about the condition and promote the benefits of a healthier lifestyle. 

Renuka Jagtiani, Vice-Chairperson, Landmark Group, led the two-kilometre walk along with senior officials from the Group as well as representatives of Dubai Sports Council and the Dubai-based diabetes support group - I am Number One - comprising children with Type 1 diabetes and their families. 

The walkathon kicked off with participants assembling at Zabeel Park at 7am wearing blue t-shirts and caps - the global colour for diabetes awareness. In keeping with the walk's theme of fitness and fun, energetic warm-up sessions and dance routines kept the crowd engaged. The release of thousands of blue balloons accompanied by confetti showers signaled the start with over 75 drummers as well as the Aga Khan Scouts and Guides Marching Band helping walkers match steps to their beats. Healthy refreshments and free blood glucose checks administered by trained medical professionals were available to all participants after the walk. 

Speaking about the fifth edition of the walkathon, Renuka Jagtiani said: "Landmark Group is deeply committed to the diabetes cause and we drive several initiatives year round to educate the community about diabetes prevention, control and management. Incidence of diabetes continues to rise in the region and is a huge cause for concern. As the condition has a life-long impact on health, our message to the entire family is to be vigilant, have regular check-ups and maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. 

"The Beat Diabetes Walkathon is our flagship event and it is extremely encouraging to see community participation grow strongly year on year. All the walkers today are ambassadors for the cause and will help to spread awareness within their families, work places and communities. Gathering here together shows the importance people place on healthy living." 

Ahmad Al Sharif, Secretary General, Dubai Sports Council, Dubai Sports Council, said: "Our objective is to raise the levels of fitness in Dubai and the Beat Diabetes Walkathon shares this vision. The initiative reflects our philosophy of making fitness a part of our daily lives."

The morning included several fun elements at the Mega Ball area. Zumba and yoga sessions, as well as interactive kids' and sports zones reinforced the benefits of staying active and eating healthy. The participants were also entertained by the city's leading RJs and a spirited performance by the Sharmila Dance Troupe. A special market for diabetes-friendly products, organic foods, and artisan stalls helped create a carnival atmosphere. 

Winners of contests and games held during the event took away vouchers from the Group's leading retail concepts Max, Centrepoint and Home Centre, as well as a three-month membership from Fitness First. 

Corporate entities that supported the fifth Beat Diabetes Walkathon include Cognizant, Standard Chartered Bank, Johnson & Johnson Lifescan, Mashreq Bank, Barclays Bank, GBM, Tata Consultancy Services and the Emirates Neon Group. 

Landmark Group is the only retail and hospitality group to lead diabetes related educational and community-focused activities across six GCC countries and India. In the month of November alone, Landmark Group's walkathons held across Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and India drew the participation of more than 33,000 individuals. A walkathon has also been scheduled in Oman on 13 December, 2013.

The initiative is particularly relevant to the GCC countries and India with both regions ranking high in the International Diabetes Federation (IDF)'s list of countries for prevalence of diabetes. 

Landmark Group's Beat Diabetes awareness campaign elements that cover 'Take the Test', 'Eat Healthy' and 'Get Active' have strongly contributed to raising awareness about the condition in the region.

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