DUBAI- Shoppers at The Dubai Mall today(May 25th) found themselves in the front line of a new health initiative in the UAE to tackle heart-related illnesses which aims to break three Guinness World Records titles this year.
A team of more than 80 nurses were on hand for an eight-hour diabetes screening of Mall-goers as the One Heart Health Community launched a major awareness drive to highlight the risks of heart problems, and underline the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
The first phase of the campaign, endorsed by Dubai Health Authority, Dubai Diabetes Center, Emirates Diabetes Society and the Emirates Cardiac Society, sets out to tackle cardiovascular disease, the world’s biggest single killer, which accounted for a quarter of all deaths in the UAE in 2012.
As the first shoppers lined up today for blood sugar level checks at nursing stations set up in the mall’s Star Atrium, the aim was to break the current Guinness World Records title with 7,025 tests in an eight- hour screening.
His Excellency Engineer Essa Al Maidoor, said: “At the DHA, it is our aim to carry out health education campaigns to empower the community to make the right choices with regard to their health. While we hope to win the record, the larger aim is to educate the community that prevention and early detection is important to ensure a healthier population.”
Dr Mohammed Hamed Farooqi, Director of the Dubai Diabetes Centre, said: “Given the prevalence of diabetes in this region and abroad, it is imperative to carry out such awareness campaigns to educate the community.
“Diabetes is a disease that affects all parts of the body and one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular disease is diabetes. It is important, therefore, that campaigns of this kind educate people on ways to prevent developing the disease as well as to educate diabetics on ways to keep their sugar levels under control.”
“This is a genuine record attempt, and the ultimate objective is to reach out to as many people as possible to raise awareness of heart-related illnesses,” said Mohamed Hammad, Founder and Managing Director at Benchmark Middle East, FZ-LLC, the initiator of the One Heart Health Community.
“We already have people of all ages asking us how they can eliminate the risks factors effectively in their daily lives. If we are able to influence the younger population as well, then we can look forward to a healthier new generation in the UAE.”
Two other Guinness World Records attempts will be made in August and November this year for most blood pressure readings and most cholesterol readings.
The One Heart Health Community has partnered with Merck Serono Middle and Near East, a recognised biotechnology and pharmaceutical chemistry leader and the world’s oldest pharmaceutical company, with more than 300 years’ experience. The company aims to partner with the health care communities to create greater awareness about health campaigns.
“The early signs are very encouraging,” said Ahmed Abo Al Fadl, Marketing Director at Merck Serono Middle East FZ-LLC. “People are showing a genuine interest in their health and wanting to change their lifestyle. Diabetes is a major risk factor for heart attacks and in the UAE over 20 percent of the population suffers from this disease.
“Educating individuals about all of the risk factors, such as hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, obesity, tobacco use and lack of physical exercise, is key to reducing the number of people who suffer from cardiovascular disease across the region.”
Benchmark Middle East, a Dubai-based independent healthcare communication agency, set up the One Heart Health Community to create a different approach to the task of raising awareness about cardiovascular disease throughout the community, and ultimately save lives.
The campaign will engage UAE residents online through Facebook, blogs, twitter and a new mobile phone application, ‘Break-Up’.
This is designed to help individuals track changes in their lifestyle such as exercising at home and limiting junk meal consumption. The app will help to motivate users, keep track of progress by family and friends’, and encourage them not to give up.