ISLAMABAD: President Mamnoon Hussain today urged the need of adopting a healthy lifestyle and stressed greater awareness about diabetes, as a healthy nation was vital for a country's progress and prosperity. Addressing the participants of a walk organised to mark the commemoration of 24th World Diabetes Day, the President said the key to stay away from most of the diseases was to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and good diet.

The large-scale event, which had more than 2000 people attending from the government, diplomatic core, civil society, healthcare institutions, academia and media was held at the Presidency as part of a collaboration with Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Islamabad and Danish pharma company Novo Nordisk Pakistan. The event was also attended by the Danish Chargé d'Affaires, Ms. Helle Nielsen, who joined the President in the walk. Mr. Rana Azfar, GM Novo Nordisk Pakistan said that Novo Nordisk was extremely grateful to President Mamnoon Hussain for supporting their initiative by taking a lead in raising awareness on the important need to adopt a healthier lifestyle to curb the high prevalence of diabetes among the people in Pakistan.

 Mr. Azfar shared that the increasing prevalence in type 2 diabetes in Pakistan has developed alongside rapid social changes, ageing populations, increasing urbanization and especially poor dietary habits and reduced physical activity. “Encouraging good habits is a lifelong process which needs to start from early age, which is why Novo Nordisk is committed to supporting public awareness on the fight against diabetes at all levels. The public must however also play their parts by leading healthy lifestyles and encouraging others to do so. Together, we can promote healthy communities and families and protect the future generations of Pakistan,” said Mr. Azfar. The President led the walk, as pigeons were released and blue lights alighted to express the resolve to rid the country of the fatal disease.

Novo Nordisk is in collaboration with the Government of Pakistan holding the first ever Provincial Diabetes Forum, which is being held in KP in coming days. The KP Diabetes Forum is aimed to bring key stakeholders together to discuss and identify meaningful changes that can improve the lives of people with diabetes and help more people avoid the disease through provincial prevention strategies. The Forum will be the milestone towards formulation of diabetes policies and strategies in KPK province for the years to come. Currently, over 7 million people are living with diabetes in Pakistan while another seven million are on the verge of developing diabetes if no preventive measures are taken. It is estimated that the number of diabetic people in Pakistan may reach 13 million by 2035.