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UAE ranks 8 notches lower in global prevalence of diabetes

The UAE has successfully dropped from second to 10th among countries with the highest incidents of diabetes. The drop follows collective nationwide efforts to stem the harmful social and economic impacts of diabetes. With around 24 per cent of citizens afflicted with the disease, government has stepped up funding for treatments to around 40 per cent of the national health care budget. Medical organizations such as the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre have also helped bring in more effective treatments and expertise. Moreover, major campaigns such as ’Diabetes-Knowledge-Action’ have been of great help in raising public awareness on the harmful effects and prevention of this disease. Middle Eastern states such as the UAE have achieved remarkable progress in the span of just a few decades through their vast oil wealth and rapidly diversifying economies. An unintended by product of this modernisation has been the rise in lifestyle conditions such as diabetes. In the Emirates, around 20 per cent of citizens are believed to be living with diabetes. Over the past few years Emirates has had the second highest prevalence of diabetes cases in the world. Among the UAE’s active proponents for a healthier national lifestyle is H. H. Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Chairperson of the General Women’s Union, Supreme Chairperson of the Family Development Foundation, and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood. She is the patron of the award-winning Diabetes-Knowledge-Action programme, which counts the annual �Play for Life’ seven-aside football tournament among its most successful initiatives. Organised by the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre in Abu Dhabi, Play for Life pits corporate teams against each other while uniting participants in the UAE’s fight against diabetes. This year’s 5th edition will be taking place from October 7 to 11, 2012 at Abu Dhabi’s Zayed Sports City complex. More than 3,000 spectators are expected to cheer on the players during this year’s night tournament, which major organisations such as Injazat consider an ideal platform for affirming and experiencing the benefits of exercise and the importance of health. Injazat, a staunch supporter and active participant of the games since its inception, will field its own contingent of 20 in-house players to compete against 15 other teams from the corporate world. "Almost a fifth of the UAE’s population has diabetes. Most have the Type 2 variant which can be easily prevented by exercising regularly and following a good diet. H.H. Sheikha Fatima’s health campaign has helped a lot in educating people on the causes and effects of this condition and how they can actually lead a diabetes-free life via a healthy lifestyle.

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