Imperial College London

Royals visit Diabetes Centre to find out about new public health campaign

Royals visit Diabetes Centre to find out about new public health campaign

HRH Prince Charles and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall visit the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre in Abu Dhabi <em> - News </em>

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Division of Investigative Science


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Imperial College London Diabetes Centre

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By Laura Gallagher

A public health awareness campaign aimed at fighting diabetes in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) was showcased this week with a royal visit to the Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (ICLDC).

HRH Prince Charles and HRH the Duchess of Cornwall toured the Centre, which is based in Abu Dhabi, on 27 February, together with representatives of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, Supreme Chairperson of the Family Welfare Foundation, and other dignitaries.

They learned about the Diabetes Knowledge Action campaign, which is focusing on informing people about diabetes prevention and symptoms and how changes to lifestyle can help. It was born out of a partnership between the ICLDC and the Emirates Foundation, and is under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak.

The visitors were told about new initiatives to improve the nation's diet and fitness levels. Encouraging school pupils to eat sensibly is one of the initiatives of the campaign and it is hoped that UAE youngsters will pass on their healthy eating habits to their families.

The royal couple watched as a group of young children chose from a selection of 'good'and 'bad' snacks for their school packed lunch boxes. When all the children picked up the bottles of water and tiny bags containing fruit and vegetables but left behind the chocolate and crisps, the Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall laughed.

The UAE has the second highest prevalence of diabetes in the world with more than 20% of those aged 20 to 79 with the condition, while a similar percentage of the population is prone to the disease.

Dr Maha Barakat , from the Division of Investigative Science at Imperial, and Medical and Research Director at the Centre, said: "Diabetes brings with it several life-threatening complications if not properly treated. These complications can be prevented if detected early and our campaign, Diabetes Knowledge Action, will ensure a consistent, hard-hitting message to the people of the UAE – act now for a healthier, longer life."

Footballers from the UAE's national team, who won the Gulf Cup in February this year, were on hand to promote the diabetes awareness campaign's message of the need to exercise to prevent and help manage the illness.

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall watched as the players demonstrated the facilities used to check patients at the state-of-the-art centre. In one area the royal couple watched as a footballer had his blood pressure taken to illustrate the need to have check-ups, while in another a soccer player ran on a treadmill while his heart was wired up to a monitor.

The ICLDC is the UAE's largest multidisciplinary diabetes facility, dedicated to prevention, treatment, training and research into all aspects of diabetes and its complications. It was officially launched in August 2006 and is a research and teaching affiliate of Imperial College. It is a joint project between Imperial and Mubadala Development Company, a subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi government.

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