•Officials, employees, social media influencers join the event
•awareness activities organised for children and families healthy food and lifestyle

Dubai, April 18, 2015: Families, children as well as officials and employees of the public and private sectors took part in the ‘#2021steps’ walkathon that kicked off on Friday evening at the Dubai Mall as part of the national campaign ‘Healthy Children 2021’ aiming to encourage children and families to walk more frequently across the UAE.

The event was organised as part of efforts to strengthen community participation in the national campaign and promote awareness in an innovative way about healthy behavior among parents and children.

His Excellency Abdul Rahman Al Owais, UAE Minister of Health, expressed happiness in organising this prestigious event, which included the participation of a number of government and local entities and private sector in coordination with Government Communication Office at The General Secretariat of the Cabinet.

The event is part of UAE Government efforts to collaborate with various organisations to promote healthy lifestyles in the community, guided by the National Agenda and UAE Vision 2021, which aims to make the UAE one of the best countries in the world in the health sector in the coming years.

H.E. Al Owais said: “The walkathon involved various government and private entities to enhance community participation to achieve UAE Vision 2021 launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. Health represents one of the main focal areas due to its important role in the UAE community and its potential to raise happiness and well-being.”

H.E. Al Owais commended the huge response to ‘#2021steps’ walkathon in the presence of a group of leading social media influencers, stating that it helped raise awareness about the importance of healthy habits, and encouraging children to take up sports activities.

The walkathon was led by senior government officials such as H.E. Marwan Al Sawaleh, Assistant Undersecretary of Support Services at the Ministry of Education; H.E Mohamed Sultan Al Obaidli, Assistant Secretary General for Ministry of Cabinet Affairs; H.E. Sana Suhail, Assistant Secretary General for Ministry of Cabinet Affairs for Policies; and H.E Dr. Hussein Al Rand, Assistant Undersecretary for Health Centres and Clinics.

In addition, federal and local government employees, the private sector, and their families as well as Dubai Volunteering Center of the Community Development Authority joined the event.

Visitors and tourists at Dubai Mall expressed their admiration for this national campaign, which highlighted the spirit of cooperation and ambitious approach to establish healthy habits for a brighter future. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram witnessed huge interaction during the event sharing the hashtag #2021steps.

The walkathon started from the stand of “healthy Children 2021” set up at Dubai Mall for three days from April 16 to 18.

The stand hosted a variety of events for children and families, focusing on promoting children health, and raising awareness on the importance of adopting healthy habits. Activities were organised to encourage children to exercise more to fight childhood obesity in the UAE within the framework of the national campaign goal to reduce obesity rate to 12 per cent by 2021, and strengthen efforts to establish a sustainable health system in the country.

The stand provided visitors and their children pedometers to measure the number of steps they took in Dubai Mall, and offered an opportunity to win prizes at ‘Twitter Exercise Bike’ contest with the results published on the contestants’ Twitter accounts. Many prize and mobile devices were awarded to visitors.

Children and their families also enjoyed taking photos and published them on their personal accounts on social media channels. In addition, sports trainers and dietician consultants of Ministry of Health were at hand to provide children useful sports and health tips, and conduct free medical tests.

The national campaign ‘Healthy Children 2021’ is one of the main pillars of National Program for Government Communication (NPGC) that is guided by the National Agenda and UAE Vision 2021. It has dedicated pillar to address obesity among children in the UAE and aims to foster efforts to promote healthy lifestyles in the UAE community.
Upcoming events of the national campaign are posted on social media platforms on Twitter, Instagram and Youtube: ‘npgc2021’ or websites: www.healthychildren2021.ae and www.npgc2021.ae.