Abu Dhabi, UAE November 14 2013: The UAE has improved its global ranking for diabetes prevalence in the latest figures released by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), according to Abu Dhabi’s Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC).
Suhail Mahmood Al Ansari, Executive Director, Mubadala Healthcare and Chairman, Imperial College London Diabetes Centre was referring to IDF’s new Diabetes Atlas published today (November 14) to mark World Diabetes Day.
“The UAE now sits at 16th in the global rankings for countries with highest diabetes prevalence, having been placed 15th in the 2013 standings,” he said.
However, despite the improvement in global ranking, the IDF figures suggest that the prevalence of diabetes in the Emirates has actually remains close to the 2013 figure, suggesting that 19 per cent of the UAE population live with diabetes, increasing slightly from 18.98 per cent last year.
Worldwide, the Diabetes Atlas 2014 suggests that 387m people live with the condition, a rise of five million from 382m in 2013.
Al Ansari warned that around half of those living with diabetes are unaware that they have it as the symptoms can be difficult to detect.
He stressed that diabetes remains a significant global challenge, at the same time expressed satisfaction at the large turnout at last weekend’s Walk 2014, the annual event organised by ICLDC’s Diabetes-Knowledge-Action campaign to help raise awareness of a healthy lifestyle, the key to diabetes prevention.
Since 2007, ICLDC’s award-winning campaign, which is under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak has directly reached more than 200,000 people in the UAE.
“WALK 2014 is about raising awareness of diabetes, and the smart, simple fact the just 30 minutes’ exercise each day can result in huge gains for the greater good, as 58 per cent of TYPE 2 DIABETES, can be reversed or prevented if healthy lifestyle steps are taken.
“With a turnout of over 21,000 and a great deal of online interest I feel very encouraged that the UAE is indeed embracing the healthy lifestyle message and moving in the right direction. Indeed, I feel we are at a ‘tipping point’ as more and more people join in the healthy lifestyle conversation,” Al Ansari added.
He said that main aim of ICLDC’s campaign is to increase awareness that regular exercise, a balanced diet and maintaining a normal body weight are paramount for long-term wellbeing, noting that the combination of a tendency towards a sedentary lifestyle and an unhealthy diet has seen a rise in obesity and diabetes over recent years.
Meanwhile, the recent findings from a new data collection programme geared to identifying the average Body Mass Index (BMI) of the nation was taken by more than 4,000 of the 21,000 participants at the recent Walk 2014 event at Yas Marina Circuit (YMC)
The ‘Big Data’ project, a joint initiative from ICLDC, Daman and YMC to help gauge levels of activity and health of the community for use by the community, is an online BMI calculator filled in by Walk 2014 participants, alongside details of activity levels providing what is thought to be the first such baseline in the UAE.
The initial findings suggest only a slight tendency towards an overweight nation, with an average BMI reading of 25.5. Any reading over 25 is considered overweight.