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Her Excellency Dr. Mariam Matar inaugurates Ibn Battuta Mall’s ‘Unite for Diabetes’ Awareness Centre

United Arab Emirates: Monday, October 22 - 2007 @ 12:59

She was joined by Mr Colin Fenton, Mall Manager, Ibn Battuta Mall and Mr Advet Bhambhani, CEO of Jebel Ali Hospital. The ‘Unite for Diabetes’ Awareness Centre forms part of a global initiative in the lead up to the World Diabetes Day on November 14, aiming to help combat the alarming prevalence of diabetes in seriously effected countries such as the UAE and emphasising the importance of early diagnosis to help save lives.

Visitors to the stand, located in the mall’s China Court, will receive complimentary services and diabetes testing for all visitors including free blood sugar, blood pressure and body mass index check up services. Free consultations for diabetic patients will also be available as well as medical spokespersons from Jebel Ali Hospital who will educate visitors on diabetes, diet, exercise, prevention and lifestyle programs.

“Worldwide, diabetes has proven to be a growing epidemic, and with the fast economic growth in the GCC region that has been witnessed in the last 3 decades, considerable impact on individuals’ life and health is inevitable. Consequently, the shift from active life to sedentary life with high caloric intake, stressful lifestyle, longevity, and advances in the medical field have changed the focus on diseases from communicable to chronic life-threatening diseases,”

said Dr. Mariam Matar, Assistant Undersecretary, Public Health and Primary Health Care.

“Diabetes Mellitis (DM) is on top of the list of these chronic diseases in UAE, and health care planners are faced with a great health challenge with regards to DM management and complications, placing a great burden on the health care system. In a previous study conducted in 2000, a significant prevalence rate of DM among nationals was 24%. In 1999, a national study on obesity revealed that 40% of adults were obese,” continued Dr. Matar.

Diabetes is a global health problem affecting 246 million, with research showing the UAE ranks second in the world with the highest rate of 19.5% of the population affected by diabetes, second only to the tiny pacific island of Nauru. Up to 80% of type 2 diabetes is preventable by adopting a healthy diet and increasing physical activity.

Colin Fenton, Mall Manager, Ibn Battuta Mall, said of the new ‘Unite for Diabetes’ Awareness centre, “Without continued intervention and awareness efforts, the number of diabetes cases will continue to increase in the UAE. We are very proud to partner with the Ministry of Health and Jebel Ali Hospital to provide a Dubai-based platform for visitors to learn about the disease and identify early warning signs to combat the alarming prevalence of diabetes in the UAE.”

Most people with diabetes have health problems or risk factors, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol that increase one’s risk for heart disease and stroke. When combined with diabetes, these risk factors can be critical with more than 65% of people with diabetes dying from heart disease or stroke. With diabetes, heart attacks occur earlier in life and often result in death. By managing diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, people with diabetes can reduce their risk.

“This pioneering initiative is another realisation of our core CSR philosophy of empowering the community with valuable knowledge and by resolutely promoting healthier lifestyles to prevent healthy individuals from becoming patients,” says Advet Bhambhani, CEO of Jebel Ali Hospital. “I am delighted with the proactive approach our partners in this initiative have adopted and am certain that we will be resoundingly successful in our mission,” he said.

The Ibn Battuta Mall diabetes awareness campaign will be an annual community and education program and represents the mall’s long term commitment to supporting major lifestyle community programmes.

The World Diabetes Day on 14 November will see a host of activities organised in the mall. Also as part of the campaign, last month Ibn Battuta Mall sponsored a diabetes awareness expedition of 12 men and women to Jordan under the banner ‘Jewels of Arabia’.

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Monday, October 22- 2007 @ 12:59 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.

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