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Source: United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA)
14 December 2011

Patients hold health march to mark World Diabetes Day

December 2011, Jordan — Diabetics and hypertension patients held a march on World Diabetes Day (14 November) to raise awareness about the disease.

About 552 million people may have diabetes by 2030, compared with about 366 million now, the International Diabetes Federation reported this month.

UNRWA’s event promoted awareness among refugee patients about diabetes and hypertension, and the need for exercise and a change in diet.

Maryam Mahmoud, who was diagnosed with diabetes earlier this year, said: “I cannot change my food habits. In the future, I will attempt to control my eating habits by consuming healthier food so that my weight can go down. Walking is good; I intend to continue this form of exercise on a daily basis.”

A healthy future

Dr Loa’y, a medical professional at UNRWA’s Taybeh clinic, began the walk with a speech on healthy lifestyles and suggested food habits for diabetics.

Health programme chief Dr Ishtaiwi briefed the audience on risk factors associated with diabetes. “Diabetes is called the silent disease because it can eat up the whole body and brain without the patient realising it,” adding that around 10 per cent of refugees in Jordan suffer from diabetes and hypertension.

He continued: “Sick people and healthy people should adopt healthy lifestyles with good food habits and exercise for at least 30 minutes a day.”

Good food and exercise are key

In another session, more than 25 diabetics attended a discussion with nutritionist Nada Abu-Kishk, who gave a presentation on healthy food for diabetics.

Addressing the audience, Nada said: “Diabetics should take four light meals a day. They should include more greens and vegetables in their daily meals, and engage in physical activity.”

Zuhdieh Abdul Rahman, who has had diabetes since 1995 and has been taking insulin for six years, said: “I always try to reduce starch intake and I am constantly walking, but I cannot eat four meals a day. It is too difficult for me.”

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