Global Walk Against Diabetes

India celebrated today World Diabetes Day and also Children’s Day. In other part of the globe, participants in all nations are also in the middle of the international forum on the 41st Union World Conference on Lung Health in Berlin, Germany.

There can be better way to meaningfully link all these events together than by taking part in the Global Walk which is being promoted by the World Diabetes Foundation.

Walking is the easiest and cheapest way to a healthy life. By walking, we exercise and feed our lungs with oxygen. Thus, we make them healthier. We also reduce the risk of getting diabetes and other diseases. Moreover, this simple pleasure transports us to the good old days of childhood when we hopped, skipped and danced our way to a healthy world.

The first Prime Minister of free India, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, loved children. The Father of our nation Mahatma Gandhi among other things loved to walk his way through difficult situations. As a tribute to both, thousands of children and adults all over the world, will take part of the Global Diabetes Walk Campaign spearheaded by the World Diabetes Foundation (WDF).

This walkathon is part of the efforts of WDD to remind one and all about the importance of physical activity in our lives. It does not only prevent diabetes but other chronic diseases as well. Physical activity combined with good nutrition is the perfect recipe for a disease free and healthy world.

One project partner of WDF has initiated a walk activity in schools in three districts of Kerala. The project aims at promoting healthy life styles in children and adults. It was launched last October 2 which is the birthday of the Mahatma this year. It would culminate today on 14th November.

School children have taken it upon themselves to spread the message that health and physical activity go hand in hand. They have invited their parents, friends and family members to be part of this gala and socially relevant affair. It is hoped that more than 400,000 people would have walked during this period.

According to Dr Anil Kapur, president of the World Diabetes Foundation said that the focus on academic learning is so high that we have neglected the importance of physical activity. As a child, she used to walk from their house to the bus stand. But her children have been driven to school in cars nowadays. Very often the environment outside is so unsafe that children are not allowed to go cycling or playing outdoors.

Parents will also have to be mobilized and educated to demand compulsory sports facilities in schools. The process has already begun in many schools of North India where a mass movement against sedentary lifestyle and junk-food diet. Marg is aproject who initiated this campaign under the support of the Diabetes Federation of India. This project targets school children to make them discover the joy and benefits of healthy diet and physical exercise.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued the following statement to mark World Diabetes Day 2010 on 14 November: World Diabetes Day: A reminder of health, developmental impacts of chronic diseases.

“The World Diabetes Day, comes at a critical moment in the global fight against this deadly disease. Along with this are other chronic illnesses that are causing both untold, needless suffering and holding back the development of many of the world’s poorest countries,” Dr Ala Alwan, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for Non-communicable Diseases and Mental Health.

Let us join hands in this noble cause. We will at least walk a mile today and then every day for our own good.