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ICLDC & Daman to speak to more than 2,000 children across 16 schools

United Arab Emirates: Saturday, November 03 - 2007 @ 15:21

Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC), in association with Emirates Foundation, has introduced a public health awareness initiative, ‘I EAT RIGHT…’, aimed at encouraging children, mothers and carers to take a look at, and possibly change, the contents of lunch and snack boxes.

With the support of National Health Insurance Company – Daman, as lead sponsor, the ICLDC team will coach pupils and teachers by means of interactive sessions that involve fun, quiz times that prompt the children to think about food, calories and nutritional content, and then have the children make up the ideal, tasty lunchbox.

Al Ittihad School, Abu Dhabi is the first of 16 schools in the capital and Dubai who are participating in the first stage of the ‘I EAT RIGHT…’ campaign that is geared to critique what kids bring in their lunch boxes.

“In this era of childhood obesity, we need to serve snacks that are healthy but still tempting enough that kids will enjoy eating them,” said Dr Maha Taysir Barakat, Endocrinologist and Medical Research Director at the Centre.

“We find that adults underestimate children and their willingness to eat healthy foods. If you take an extra step to make it seem special or fun, kids are very receptive to new foods.

“Just don’t force them to choose between cookies and carrots. But if the option is between fruit and whole-grain crackers with cheese, either choice is a winner.”

Daman’s CEO Dr Michael Bitzer, has pledged Daman’s support of the campaign and is onboard as the event’s lead sponsor: “We are right behind this drive to combat diabetes in the UAE.

“Daman is committed to playing an active role in improving health standards by engaging in public education and enhancing knowledge about diabetes. We believe in starting early and for this reason we will all be involving our families and children in this campaign that aims to teach our kids the constructive habit of eating healthy.

He said that this goes hand-in-hand with Daman’s efforts to encourage preventive approaches to healthcare within the community.

“We feel that by working with schoolchildren, their parents and carers, ‘I EAT RIGHT…’ is spot on! Statistics show that the UAE has the second highest prevalence of diabetes worldwide. It is quite possible, therefore, that we all know someone who is living with diabetes. Daman aims to be the guardian arm that protects the health and wellbeing of the community, especially our children,” he said.

One out of five people aged 20 to 79 in the UAE already lives with this disease, while a similar percent of the population is at risk.

However, Dr Maha said that 80% of type 2 diabetes can be prevented if detected early by simply introducing a healthier diet and an increase in physical activity.

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Saturday, November 3- 2007 @ 15:21 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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