Aspetar has successfully concluded the first Step into Health Forum in 2017, with a record 25 companies taking part. During the Forum, companies registered for the ‘Step into Heath – at the workplace’ programme were rewarded for encouraging their employees to become more physically active, and supporting the fight against non-communicable diseases in line with the mission of the programme. ‘Best Walkers’ from each company were also rewarded for completing over 10,000 steps a day.
The programme has seen a surge in popularity among Qatar-based companies since its inception, with over 4,500 employees from 25 companies taking part in 2017 compared to 1,895 employees from four companies when it launched in 2013.
Companies taking part this year include the likes of the Ministry of Public Health, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, Qatar Petroleum, Dolphin Energy, Total E&P, Gulf Helicopters, Meeza, Ras Laffan Power Company, Ezdan Holdings, and Aljabor Cement Industries Co.
The “Step into Health – at the workplace” programme falls under the wider ’Step into Health’ initiative, a community-based programme developed by the Exercise is Medicine Department within Aspetar, a member organisation of Aspire Zone Foundation. Initiated with the aim of promoting active and healthy lifestyles among community members in Qatar, the programme now has over 43,721 people registered.
Speaking about the programme, Dr. Izzeldin Ibrahim, Head of Community Health Programme at Aspetar’s Exercise Is Medicine Department, said “Many adults spend most of their time in sedentary jobs that require little physical activity, but inadequate physical activity is one of the world’s most pressing health risks, particularly in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Regular physical activity, on the other hand, is associated with a healthier and longer life, and a lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and cancer.”
Recognising this as a potential threat to local people’s health, Aspetar decided to address the issue by launching the ‘Step into Health’ initiative. The initiative educates the local community on the health benefits of regular but moderate exercise and provides them with an accessible form of exercise that can be conducted anywhere and at any time.
Dr. Izzeldin added: “The ‘Step into Health’ programme was launched as an evidence-based programme that is free and accessible to all. It requires only a moderate amount of daily physical activity that can be monitored using step-counting pedometers or a smartphone app. The programme teaches self-management and encourages individuals to walk over 10,000 steps a day in a recreational and social way, as per the physical activity recommended by the World Health Organisation.”
The initiative forms part of the wider visions of Aspetar and Aspire Zone Foundation in promoting healthy living in Qatar. These visions support Aspire Zone Foundation’s pursuit of the main strategic objectives of Qatar’s National Health Strategy (NHS).
The Forum also comes just days before the popular National Sport Day, which takes place next Tuesday and during which Aspetar will launch its new ‘Tamareen’ exercise information booklet. The booklet contains tips and recommendations on which types of physical activity are more suitable for individuals based on their age group and fitness levels, highlighting the benefits of exercise in combatting chronic health conditions.
The new booklet is already available in Aspetar’s pharmacy and will soon be distributed to other health care facilities. It is intended to act as a reference tool for everyone interested in maintaining or improving their health.