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Thousands of visitors celebrate World Diabetes Day with a carnival celebration at Dubai’s Ibn Battuta Mall

United Arab Emirates: Sunday, November 18 - 2007 @ 12:00

The theme of this year’s World Diabetes Day campaign was diabetes in children and adolescents and to highlight the awareness of the disease, exciting performances by clowns, magicians, stilt walkers, jugglers and drummers entertained crowds who gathered at the mall.
Sandy Mercer, Head of Marketing Nakheel Retail, commented: “Diabetes affects nearly one in five of the UAE population and Ibn Battuta Mall is spreading the message of education, prevention and treatment to bring diabetes out of the shadows.

“Children are not spared from this global epidemic; type 1 diabetes is growing by 3% per year in children and adolescents at an alarming 5% per year among pre-school children. It is estimated that 70,000 children under 15 develop type 1 diabetes each year which is almost 200 children a day,” Sandy Mercer continued.
More than 100 fitness enthusiasts also participated in a heart-racing three hour spin session –marathon in China Court, hosted by twelve of the leading Fitness First instructors in the region to enforce the importance of an active lifestyle to prevent diabetes.

A huge blue World Diabetes logo was also placed around the court, with visitors standing on the outline to form a human circle, symbolising life and earth and the blue representing the colour of the United Nations flag, which reflects the sky that unites all nations. The human circle signified the unity of the global diabetes community in response to the current diabetes epidemic.

To add to the excitement, special international guest, US actor Chris Williams (an advocate of the American Diabetes Association and brother of Vanessa Williams from Ugly Betty), was present to show his support for the disease, which has sadly affected members of his own family.
Chris Williams, of hit US TV series 24, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Californication, also drew the winner of the Kia Sportage, from ballots received when purchasing a Dhs 10 Unite for Diabetes fundraising bracelet. Mr Mourtada Ahmad Bahadori was in the mall when his name was announced and was delighted to receive his prize from the actor.

All proceeds from the car raffle went to the UAE’s National Diabetes Committee to further help combat the silent epidemic, which is sweeping across the Emirates.

Ibn Battuta Mall began its Diabetes Awareness Campaign in September, educating the community about the disease and helping people to identify early warning signs. The successful campaign also saw the co-sponsorship of the “Jewels of Arabia” challenge, an inspiring journey to Jordan, made by 16 UAE-based adventurers, who stretched their physical and mental abilities to help alert the nation to the disease affecting their own population.

In October, Ibn Battuta Mall’s ‘Unite for Diabetes Awareness Centre’ was created by Dr Mariam Matar, Assistant Undersecretary, Public Health and Primary Health Care, Ministry of Health and Chairwoman of the National Diabetes Committee, Colin Fenton, Mall Manager Ibn Battuta Mall and Advet Bhambhani, CEO of Jebel Ali Hospital. The centre offers complimentary services and diabetes testing for all visitors, including free blood sugar, blood pressure and body mass index check up services, performed by experienced health professionals from Jebel Ali Hospital.

The Ibn Battuta Mall Diabetes Awareness Campaign forms part of the mall’s annual commitment to raise the awareness of different causes of the disease in the UAE and emphasises the importance of a healthy, active lifestyle and early diagnosis to help save lives.

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Sunday, November 18- 2007 @ 12:00 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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