28 November 2012
KUALA LUMPUR: TO commemorate World Diabetes Day which fell on Nov 14, over 2,800 people took part in the World Diabetes Day 5km Walkathon and 10km Fun Run recently.
Jointly organised by the Malaysian Endocrine and Metabolic Society (MEMS), diabetes care societies and leading pharmaceutical companies, this is the first time that the walkathon and run were held on a big scale at Dataran Merdeka.
The run was flagged off first by the Danish ambassador Nicolai Ruge while the walkathon was later flagged off by Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek.
Shabery said Malaysia should emulate Japan’s waistline policy where men’s waistlines should not exceed 86cm and for women 76cm.
Themed “Protect Our Future”, the event was not to raise funds but to create awareness of diabetes, especially among the younger generation.
“One out of seven 18-year-olds has diabetes and the youngest diabetic patient was a four-year-old child.
“This is mostly due to their parents’ way of pacifying their children with sweets,” said MEMS president Prof Dr Nor Azmi Kamaruddin.
“Families should adopt a healthy lifestyle, especially in practising a balanced diet.
“If there is a diabetic in the family, it is not wrong for other members to follow the diet also,” said event chairperson Dr Mohamed Badrulnizam Long Bidin.
The grounds of Dataran Merdeka were transformed into a carnival where participants were entertained by numerous activities.
There were game booths of slam dunk, balloon dart, can smash and colour bowling.
While parents went around testing their glucose levels, analysing their diabetes risks and getting free diabetes counselling, the children were kept busy at a colouring booth.
The run was divided into four categories, namely, the Men Open, Women Open, Men Veteran Open and Women Veteran Open.
First, second and third place winners of each of these categories walked away with RM500, RM350 and RM250 cash prizes, respectively.
Winner of the Men Open category was Kenyan David Mutai, a full-time marathon runner.
“This is a very good awareness-building event because diabetes is killing people everyday,” he said.
Men Veteran Open winner M. Rama Krishnan, 59, was a national runner in the 1980s.
“It is rare to see whole families participating in runs and walkathons.”
Winner of the Women Veteran Open division, Susan Khoo, 52, runs four to five times a week.
Showing support for World Diabetes Day, the iconic KL Tower was recently lit in blue, the symbolic colour for diabetes.
This article was published in www.nst.com.my on 26 November 2012