The Dubai Shopping Festival has drawn to its shopping bags healthinitiatives, making it a perfect combination of shopping, winning,entertainment and healthy living.

For the third year in a row, the Family Health Festival was officiallyinaugurated on Saturday at EKEA in Dubai Festival City with the Safe atHeart initiative of AstraZeneca, the main sponsor of the event, that directsits campaign on cardiovascular diseases to all residents and visitors inDubai.

Dr Hanif Hassan Ali, UAE Minister of Health, inaugurated the event withIbrahim Saleh, Festivals Coordinator-General and Deputy CEO of Dubai Eventsand Promotions Establishment (DEPE).

Shoppers crowded the booth of the health festival, which will also be set upat Wafi City, Dubai Mall, Al Ghurair City and in select DSF locations innight souks at Al Riqqa Street, Al Seef Street in Dubai Creek, Global Cityand in corporate houses.

Last year, the Family Health Festival attracted more than 100,000 visitorsand tested more than 10,000 for free. This year, the Health Ministerexpected more individuals to avail of the free checkups and medical andnutritional counseling at the festival in the malls and night souks.

This year’s primary focus of Family Health Festival is on Safe at Heartinitiative, which aims to raise awareness about the growing burden andprevention of cardiovascular diseases in the region.

Dr Prem Jagyasi, managing director and CEO of ExHealth, organiser of FamilyHealth Festival in coordination with DSF and the Ministry of Health, toldKhaleej Times that the initiative will give free consultation, counselingand screening of blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol level to helpthe general public and those suffering from heart ailment and other healthconcerns.

DEPE’s Saleh told Khaleej Times that DSF is a good opportunity to pass a lotof messages and a lot of activities in order to create awareness among theresidents and visitors in Dubai in cooperation with the Ministry of Health.The initiative, which is also endorsed by the Emirates Cardiac Society,brings seminars and counseling with healthcare professionals on how tomaintain healthy cholesterol levels.

Dr Jagyasi said: “The third edition of Family Health Festival this year isanother step in this direction. Each year, we have themed it depending onthe need of the hour.

Family Health Festival offers a full range of activities such as speciallydesigned magic show, face paintings, games and other forms of healthedutainment. On site posters and video presentations will aim to imparthealth awareness to the visitors. The kiosks will also earmark screeningareas for a host of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and blood pressure.

Additionally, certified healthcare professionals will be available to offercounseling and tips on lifestyle management to the shoppers. “A doctor andtwo nurses are stationed in every festival booth in the malls, select DSFlocations and corporate houses,” Dr Jagyasi said. The festival is amonth-long series of events, which brings health awareness to theDSF-participating malls and outdoor locations. Disease education andpreventive screenings are intertwined with fun activities.

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