‘Change Your Lifestyle’: Saudis Fight Against Diabetes is Relentless

'Change Your Lifestyle': Saudis Fight Against Diabetes is Relentless

The Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) is raising awareness and promoting a health program ahead of World Diabetes day on Nov. 14.

Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases related to aging — significant as Saudi Arabia’s adult population is rising above 23 million. According to the International

Diabetes Federation, the prevalence of diabetes in adults is 18.3 percent (more than 4 million cases), related to lifestyle issues such as lack of exercise, an unhealthy diet and obesity.

According to a WHO report, Saudi Arabia is ranked the second highest in the Middle East and seventh in the world for the rate of diabetes.

Rawan Al-Daur, a diabetic educator at Abbott Diabetic Care in Riyadh, stressed the importance of physical activity to combat type 2 diabetes. “It’s important to have campaigns to raise awareness about diabetes, because physical activity is one of the most important things to reduce the risk of diabetes type 2,” Al-Daur told Arab News.

She said diabetes was not correlated to a specific age group, and could affect anyone at any age according to factors such as genetics and an unhealthy lifestyle.

Al-Daur highlighted that the percentage of diabetes in Saudi Arabia is high and urged people in the Kingdom to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

“It’s still a large number because of the lifestyle of people in the Kingdom. They should increase their physical activities, and eat healthy food at proper times, drink a lot of water and eat less sugars and unhealthy forms of carbohydrates,” she said.

“Adopting a healthier lifestyle helps prevent such diseases as diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia because these three diseases are the root cause of other chronic diseases,” she added.

Socioeconomic changes in the Kingdom — growth and prosperity — have brought changes in lifestyle, most notably in eating habits and physical activity.

In a move to combat the trend and with an aim to raise awareness about the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, the Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) launched the “Step Together” program on Nov. 4, which ends on Nov. 14, World Diabetes Day. It has called on people of all ages and abilities to unite in the name of health.

The program was launched in cooperation with the Royal Danish Embassy in the Kingdom and Novo Nordisk, a Danish multinational health care company, which aims to find better therapies for people living with diabetes and other chronic diseases. Adults are challenged to walk or run 21.1 km, while children are challenged to walk or run 14 km.

“Over the course of the 11 days, and especially on November 14, we want to see our healthy active community head out. Bringing all of your family members to walk or run on World Diabetes Day,” said Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al-Saud, president of SFA.

Focusing on World Diabetes Day, the third Step Together is supported by the Ministry of Sports and the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee.

SFA was established to promote well-being and encourage a healthy lifestyle in people across the Kingdom. The third Step Together event is staged under the banner of the Quality of Life program, part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 development plans.

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