Posted on September 25, 2013

Maersk Oil Qatar, proud sponsor of the Schools Olympic Program 2013 (SOP 2013) and member of the Action on Diabetes (AoD) partnership, announced that it will reach out to local school children throughout SOP 2013, building a foundation for a next generation that is aware of important health issues and in turn working to reduce the rate of diabetes in the State of Qatar.

Speaking during the SPO 2013 opening ceremony on September 25, Sheikh Faisal Bin Fahad Al-Thani, Deputy Managing Director at Maersk Oil Qatar commented on the important role AoD will be playing during SOP 2013, “The combined and long-term aim motivating and uniting each of the AoD partners is to help deliver The Emir's vision of a healthy and prosperous Qatar, and support the Qatari authorities to reduce the incidences of diabetes. SOP is a major annual sporting event which enables us to engage with Qatar’s youth and encourage and empower them with the necessary knowledge and tools to make healthy lifestyle choices.”

Even though the Qatari population is relatively young compared to the rest of the world, Qatar has among the highest prevalence of diabetes in the world today. Through raising the general awareness of diabetes, with particular focus on motivating children to make real life-style changes, AoD hopes make a difference not only to those who already have diabetes, but also in preventing those at risk from developing it in the future.

“Qatar is one of the wealthiest per-capita countries in the world with a fast growing economy, due to the on-going increased production in oil and its related industries” noted Sheikh Mohamad Al Thani director of the Supreme Council of Health. “Combined with rapid urbanisation, motorised transport and convenient fast-food, people have adopted more sedentary lifestyle routines. Less exercise paired with a diet high in fat intake has resulted in a large percentage of people being overweight or obese - a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes.”

AoD will reinforce the major theme of this year’s SOP 2013, “Sport and Integrity” highlighting to children the connection between sports achievement and leading a healthy lifestyle based on the campaign’s four main lifestyle factors: healthy diet, regular exercise, not smoking and getting screened for diabetes regularly. Through interactive and fun engagement around these important themes, AoD will deliver the message that to take part and be successful in sports children need to take care of their minds and bodies rather than engaging in substance abuse or unsportsmanlike behaviour. AoD will emphasise the importance of integrity and promote positive messages around sport for the country’s national long term benefit.

As a result of the startling increase in the number of people with diabetes in Qatar, ‘Action on Diabetes’ was launched in 2011 , as a partnership between Maersk Oil Qatar, Supreme Council of Health, Hamad Medical Corporation, Primary Health Care Corporation, Qatar Diabetes Association and world leader in diabetes care Novo Nordisk.

Qatar Airways flies 3 times weekly to Belgrade, Serbia starting 20th November