This is the official blog of the Landmark Group with insights
and stories from the people behind our many brands.

Early Signs of Obesity


Childhood obesity is increasing each year at an alarming rate in the United Arab Emirates. An obese child is more likely to be obese adult. Obesity is a challenging medical problem as it requires more than just a mind shift in parents. A change in food and activity choices as a family can help reinforce healthy habits within children.

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In simple words, obesity is excess fat in body, accurate measurement of fat is complicated but for practical purposes body mass index (BMI), weight for height, skin fold thickness and waist to hip ratio are used to define obesity. BMI is calculated by weight (kg) divided by height (meter square) (kg/m2). BMI more than 95th centile for age and sex (>30) is defined as obese and 85th to 95th percentile as overweight (25-30). There are age specific growth charts for weight for height and age.

Obesity is multi-factorial and one of the major reasons for the increase of obesity over the last decade is the shift to foods with high fat and sugar content in relation to activity and exercise.

Prevalence of obesity is reportedly increased by 2 % for every hour of TV viewing, similar effects with surfing internet and video games. There are also evidences that individuals under-report calorie intake. The other reasons of childhood obesity are endocrine or hormonal abnormalities, for example high cortisol hormone, medications like steroids and some genes are also linked to obesity.

Type 2 diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, high cholesterol, psychosocial problems, sleep apnea, orthopedic problems, metabolic syndrome, fatty liver, early puberty, polycystic ovarian disease in girls are highly associated with obesity.

Managing obesity is challenging in kids, hence it is important to find out the cause and to promote healthy diet with ample physical activity. It needs the entire family to work together to build a healthy lifestyle in your home. There are many ways of ensuring that your kids stay active like maintaining diet diary, educating about calories, developing daily routine of physical exercise, limiting TV, computer and video game timings.

Healthy Iftar Cookbook


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The Holy month of Ramadan is an important period for all of us living in the Middle East. Fasting during Ramadan helps us practice self-control; it is a time of physical cleansing and spiritual healing. But time and again, many of us end up over indulging while opening our fast.

Most health problems are merely a result of inappropriate diet and lack of sleep. The inclusion of healthy alternatives during Iftar meals can increase energy and pave the way to good health.

Through the Beat Diabetes initiative, a public awareness campaign by the Landmark Group, we are trying to emphasize the need for a healthy diet through our 'Eat Healthy' banner. While there is no cure for diabetes, it can be managed through the right care, a healthy diet being one of them.

"We are what we eat" and eating right is the key focus of our initiative.

Our Ramadan Cookbook on Facebook is a blend of 50 easy, delicious traditional and international Iftar recipes that will help you make a healthy shift for you and your loved ones. The recipes in this Cookbook are simple and flavorsome, involve your friends and family to make this a worthwhile cooking experience.

Let's make Health and Spirituality come together this Ramadan.

To cook these mouthwatering yet nutritious Iftar dishes, Click and download the Healthy Iftar Cookbook.

Refresh your home with Ramadan inspirations from Home Centre

For most of us, our home is sacred. It is one place where we can truly be ourselves. What if our home could reflect who we were, what we represent and all of that within a budget? Home Centre's team of buyers and stylists have put together a selection of traditional accessories and ornaments, luxurious furniture pieces and lighting choices, classical carpets, tableware and kitchenware that will help you recreate the richness and warmth of the Ramadan season in your homes.

Many interesting home décor ideas will come to you as you stroll around Home Centre stores over the weekend. The store infuses a sense of warmth and comfort that can be recreated in your homes too, so soak it in. Look out for layouts, textures, colour combinations that catch your attention and interesting store discounts, special offers that can be good on your pocket.

Here are some exciting tips that could help you make the right shopping choices this Ramadan.

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Clean up the clutter

Getting rid of old furniture, linens and excess clutter can help make space for new. Organizing shelves, stacking books on the coffee table, giving away unused furniture can be therapeutic. Once clean, you could transform your rooms by changing cushion covers, curtains and carpets to add a new splash of colour. The colour could help define rooms and distinguish sections.


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Themes and collections

The easiest way to give your home a seasonal touch is to add a few thematic accessories. Similar looking objects like vases, stack of books, candles etc. can be clubbed together to build a collection. Place your collection in an under-utilized space of your home.




Make it sparkle

Vacuuming, dusting and washing may sound tedious, but it is one big way of making your home a clean safe haven. Involve your kids, assign tasks and make it a fun experience to clean the house. This could count in as your exercise for the day too.

Light up your life
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Brighten up your room with lamps or go old school by lighting a few candles or lanterns.  These lamps can build a mood within each room and even highlight sections of your home. You could also push your curtains to one side so that the light can stream in and reposition some of your furniture to face the window of the room.

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Cook up a delicious Iftar
 
Cooking a delicious Iftar meal for your loved ones can be much more fun when you have the right durable cookware to make your delicious food into reality. With Home Centre's wide range of good quality cookware you can efficiently cook up a storm and effortlessly serve a nutritious Iftar for your loved ones.


Serve in style
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As most say 'we eat with our eyes', make your food look welcoming and delicious on the Iftar table this Ramadan.  Home Centre's wide range of festive crockery and cutlery can add a delicious visual appeal to your food. Let the color of your table cloth set the base and lay on colors and patterns with table linen and dinnerware.

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Gift Happiness

This season is marked by generosity, togetherness and sharing, and Home Centre has gifting options that can bring a smile on any face. You can pick up some aesthetic serving dishes and traditional accessories for your loved ones and maybe gift yourself a few pieces too.



Memory lane

Photos of your loved ones can instantly make your home warm and welcoming. Take some time off during the weekends to go through your old photo albums, old photo folders on your laptop and pick out pictures that put a smile to your face. Print and frame! This photo frames can be spread out in any room, place it on your coffee table, window pane or the kitchen counter. Thus, adding a warm flavor when guests visit your home.

These are just a few pieces from an extensive Ramadan collection to make this festive season a special time for friends and family.  The tips on the other hand will help you open your heart and home to pleasant changes in this Ramadan season.

Max completes a decade

Max, Landmark Group's homegrown value fashion retail brand completes 10 years this June. Established in 2004 with a simple yet untapped idea to venture into 'value retail' in the UAE, today Max is present in 16 countries across the Middle East, Africa and India. Known as the largest value fashion retail brand in the Middle East, Max's retail space is growing each year and is currently anchored in 285 stores spread over 5 million Sq. ft.

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Under the leadership of H.Ramanathan, who has been closely connected to the Landmark Group for more than two decades, this milestone for Max is a new benchmark.

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The team at Max attributes this success to all the loyal customers that come together every season and shop at Max stores, thus consistently building the brand over the years.

Landmark at Dubai Festival City Mall

The Landmark Group's homegrown popular brands Centrepoint, Max and Emax are now present in the famous creek-side Dubai Festival City (DFC) mall. This simultaneous launch of the three stores reinforces the group's presence in the UAE region with over 500 outlets encompassing over 6.3 million sq. ft. of retail area.

At the DFC mall, the three stores are spread over 100,000 square feet across two floors. Landmark Group, CEO Vipen Sethi is optimistic about this new development, "Dubai Festival City Mall is a favoured destination for a number of residents in the UAE for its range of retail and hospitality outlets that cater to eclectic tastes. We are confident that the entry of our reputed brands will add a new dimension to the mall's existing portfolio."
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The three concepts have had a rewarding start to this year, Centrepoint celebrated the launch of its 100th store this May. This one-stop shop houses four of the Group's most popular concepts - Babyshop, Splash, Lifestyle and Shoe Mart. Max, the largest value fashion brand in the Middle East, North Africa and India completes ten years in business. And Emax, the largest electronics retail chain in the Middle East with over 50 outlets has been awarded the prestigious "Super Retailer of the Year" at the Reseller ME Partner Excellence Awards 2014. Today, these concepts have evolved as household names in their respective categories making them successful in all territories where they have their presence.
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The Landmark Group's expansion plans aims at opening 50 new stores across the UAE by end of 2015 taking the consolidated store count in the UAE to over 550 and total retail area to almost eight million square feet. "Strategically, growing our presence in Dubai Festival City Mall is an important step in our expansion plans in the UAE. With the nation gearing up to host more than 20 million visitors in 2020, the nation's leadership has a commitment to strengthen infrastructure and upgrade tourist offerings. As a retailer catering to the masses, we also seek to simultaneously growing our presence across destination malls and community centres in strong catchment areas", says Vipen Sethi, CEO, Landmark Group.
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The Expo 2020 win for Dubai is an economic boost for the many sectors in Dubai and the retail space is no different. The growing presence of the Landmark Group in the UAE is the start of new developments that will bring in many more visitors from across the world and cement Dubai as a leading travel destination.

The Big 200 - Babyshop's Landmark Achievement

Babyshop opened doors of its 200th store in the MENA region this May. Located in Irbid, Jordon within the City Centre, this 11,000 sq. ft. store retails in-house brands like Juniors, Giggles, and other popular international brands like Barbie, Disney, Philips Avent, Fisher-Price, Graco, Ferrari, Quinny and several others.

babyshop-first-store.jpgGoing back to Landmark Group's modest beginnings in Bahrain, Babyshop stands as a foundation stone on which the entire Landmark Group was envisioned and built. This landmark achievement coincides with the group's 40th year in existence and honour of being the region's largest retail conglomerate. Vinod Talreja, CEO, Babyshop, talks about the success of the concept since its inception in 1973, "The opening of our 200th store is another major milestone as we complete 40 years of being a leading retailer of choice for all children's requirements under one roof." This one stop shop encompasses everything from fashion clothing, baby basics, toys and nursery furniture for newborns, toddlers and children up to 16 years of age. Today, Babyshop operates in 15 countries and covers over 2.5 million sq. ft. of retail space.

Over the years, Babyshop has built a loyal customer-base with its product portfolio that offers great value for money and assures quality. Vinod Talreja, acknowledges this strength, "We take this opportunity to thank our loyal customers, Babyshop has received exceptional acceptance and popularity across all markets in the MENA region where we have our presence, and we reiterate our commitment towards providing superior quality at affordable prices to our loyal customers."

babyshop-store.jpgThis commitment to its customers and the region is pursed further by Babyshop's active social responsibility mandate, which involves participating in initiatives that promote child safety awareness.  Since 2005, Babyshop has been continually engaged in a series of community engagement activities intended to raise awareness on safety amongst students, parents and schools. Till date, the success of this community engagement initiative has reached out to more than 7,000 children from 150 schools across the Gulf region, including schools in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.

As Landmark Group continues to capture greater market share in the Middle East, Babyshop's 200th store milestone showcases the growing presence in its category in the MENA region. An achievement the Landmark group celebrates with pride.

Don't weight and watch!

wellness.jpgThe Dubai Stone - I am sure most of you have heard the dreaded term. For the uninitiated it means adding a minimum of 7 kgs and with it a whole lot of other things. How does this phenomena happen ? Quite simply moving into a new environment often leads to a big 'Lifestyle Change'. Routines shift, diet starts to vary, physical activity becomes lesser and new temptations lead us to adopting unhealthy habits without realizing them.

People who move here often come from countries where they walk or take public transport to work. All of this changes when you live here. The hot weather for most part of the year makes it difficult to walk or exercise outdoor. Add that to a lifestyle filled with convenience, comfort, luxuries brunches, mall crawling and eating out and there you have it ....the added pounds or kilos !

But really this is not a phenomenon unique to Dubai. Most of us tend to put on the extra weight when changes in life happen and we do have our reasons for it. New job, new relationship, just married, had a baby, went on holiday, partying regularly -we have all been there, haven't we?

Then comes the stage where the clothes don't fit, the mirror makes you unhappy and the carefully worded comments about weight gain start. As people, we are all conscious and a little vain. The first realization of weight gain has us looking for the miracle diet, which will get us back on track in days. In today's age of easy Google search that is  really not difficult. You have celebrity diets, no -carb diets, lose a dress size in a week diets, cabbage diet, juice diet - the list is pretty much endless.

In fact Research shows that 95% of working adults -people like you and me, have tried some sort of a diet or the other, and most times been unsuccessful. While fad diets often help you drop a few pounds on a weighing scale initially and make you feel good, they are difficult to sustain in the long run. When your body is craving taste and proper food, its normal to fall off the wagon and turn to binge eating. So while a few pounds were lost earlier in the battle of the bulge, the 'diet' goes from friend to foe- leaving you right where you started.

Speaking of piling on the pounds, here's a thought. Why don't we combat the weight gain with the same weapon that started it in the first place - 'A Lifestyle Change'
But what does this  change look or feel like, and how do you know when you've made one? Well mostly it's going back to all those good things that are tried and tested and yes, work well for you no matter what age or gender you are.

Coffee is NOT Breakfast
We skip breakfast thinking we are cutting calories and honestly it is the worse thing you can do. By mid-morning  you are starving and you tend to go for anything that's available - cookies, chocolate bars, chips, croissants, etc. How healthy is this list and what it does is something we all know. A research group analyzed 4,200 adults and found that regular breakfast eaters were more likely to eat fewer calories overall during the day. In fact make breakfast the heaviest meal of the day.  Muesli, eggs, milk, whole wheatbread, yoghurt, fruit.... they fuel your day.  Breakfast kick- starts your metabolism and since you have a whole day of running around at work you can easily burn those calories off.  Plus it keeps hunger pangs at bay and you don't up going to lunch feeling like you can polish off a whole buffet.

All Good things come in Small Packages
Most of us tend to eat 2/3 big meals in a day often ending with a big dinner. But that's the worse thing you can do to your body. If you think about it excess of any kind leaves you with a bad aftertaste. Try and eat 5/6 small meals so that your body constantly has energy. While grocery shopping pick - up healthy snacks like fruits, nuts, granola bars, whole -wheat biscuits that you can eat when you have a hunger pang between meals

The Balancing Act
Remember sitting on a see -saw, if all the weight is on one side, your either end up in the air or grounded on the floor and neither is much fun. Balance is an important term, so try and ensure that's how your plate looks during lunchtime - 30% Carbs like bread/roti/pasta/rice. 35% vegetables and pulses. 25% Protein. 10% Dairy Products and 5% Sweet Treat.

Don't save the best for last

For most of us dinner often ends up being the heaviest and a really late meal. Your body really doesn't burn much during television watching, net- surfing, bed-time reading and sleeping. So if you consume the most calories at night that your body doesn't need it just goes in as storage and shows up in the most unflattering areas. Keep that dinner light and early and it will go a long way in keeping you fit.

These Legs were made for walking
Most of us spend 8 hours a day chained to a desk but that is not what the human body was made for. Early man spent most of his time standing, walking and running and while the human race's abuse of the environment will some day drive us to the prehistoric ages we aren't there yet. But being on your feet does go a long way. Take a walk after lunch or dinner, go dancing, play a game with your children anything that keeps you on your feet is good.

The Naughty and Nice List
Well let's be honest here it was much simpler to write these things down than live by it every single day. You will have days when you do out for dinner to celebrate social occasions, a deadline at work that will leave you chained to your desk and never see daylight and endless other occasions. But let's try and stick to the 80-20 rule and be on track at least 80% of the times. Use your desk calendar as a measure, for every day you have been good put a check with your marker the next morning and for every day you have fallen off the wagon put a cross. At the end of the month ensure you have more checks than crosses so you end up on your Nice List. And at the end of the year and treat yourself to something nice before you ring in another healthy new year.

PITTA: The Energy of Digestion and Metabolism - Ayurveda: part 4

pitta.pngBalance or homeostasis is the cornerstone of Ayurveda. In Ayurveda the ideal physical condition is when the tridoshas - Kapha, Pitta, and Vata - are in harmony. When aggravated, your dominant dosha creates imbalances that affect your physical being and psychology.

Pitta, the energy originated from fire, assimilates everything from sensory perceptions and ideas to food. The main locations of Pitta in the body are the small intestine, stomach, liver, spleen, pancreas, blood, eyes, and sweat.

In a Pitta body type the bones are less conspicuous than in the Vata individual. Pitta individuals have a tendency towards hair loss and premature greying. They seldom fluctuate in weight when in balance. They have soft, oily skin and have excess urine, sweat and thirst.

In terms of physiology, Pitta individuals have a relatively higher body temperature than those of Vata and Kapha, resulting in increased exhaustion during the summer months.

The Pitta clan generally has a sharp memory and an inquisitive mind. They exhibit strong leadership qualities. They make effective public orators and love to splurge on luxurious possessions.

When imbalanced, the Pittas tend to be irritable, stubborn and cynical. They also are capable of extreme anger, hatred and ego. Dr. Chandy says, "There is an old Ayurvedic saying that says 'An imbalanced Pitta individual doesn't go to hell; he or she simply creates it wherever they go!'"

Pitta imbalance commonly results in problems like acne, boils, ulcers, heartburn, hot sensations in the stomach or intestines, insomnia, anemia and jaundice.

Nutrition Guidelines

Pitta provides the body with energy through the breakdown of complex food molecules. The Pitta body type has a strong appetite and good digestive system however they are sensitive to deep-fried food. Pittas have a natural craving for sweet, bitter and astringent tastes and enjoy cold drinks.

To retain the balance of body and mind, Pittas should avoid excessively oily food as well as caffeine, alcohol, red meat and salt.

Your Food and Your Mood - Sugar

fruit-vegetable.jpgSugar is an essential energy source. "But sugar is not just an ingredient in your favorite recipe. It is also the energy source of your body. Without sugar a body cannot function properly," says Dr. Chandy.

Addiction to sugar doesn't just result in diabetes; it can also lead to obesity, dental cavities and adrenal deficiencies.

Ayurvedic practitioners emphasize the necessity of a healthy diet consisting of fiber, legumes, fresh fruits and vegetables to balance blood sugar levels. These food items release energy gradually, avoiding sudden peaks and drops in blood sugar levels that usually result from consumption of processed foods.

The Big Villain - Hair Loss

According to Ayurveda, the health of the hair is dependent on the body's digestive fire and basic body type of an individual. The first step towards treating the issue is identifying the root cause in your lifestyle behavior.

Amla.jpgThe major causes of hair fall include hormonal and nutritional deficiencies along and complications related to other diseases and stress factors. Excess of Pitta dosha in the body is aggravated by hot climatic conditions, excessive intake of spicy, salty and sour food, caffeine, alcohol, meats, and excessive smoking.  Eating a balanced diet rich in protein and iron content, including leafy vegetables and fresh fruits is also an effective way of tackling hair fall.

Ayurvedic practitioners also recommend the use of a natural shampoo like amla or shikakai to clean the hair. Oiling and massaging of scalp, with coconut oil or medicated oils like Neelibhringadi oil and traditional Ayurvedic treatments is very beneficial for stopping the hair loss.

Additional Details:

Dosha

Hair quality

Problems

Vata

Dark, coarse, wiry, inky, and frizzy hair.

Easily tangled. Dull. Split ends. Susceptible to dandruff infection

Pitta

Light, fine and silky.

Premature graying of hair and premature baldness. Tends to become oily in hot and dry weather.

Kapha

Thick, heavy, wavy, and slightly oily. Lustrous.

Generally very healthy hair.


FLASH : Bring your excess blood sugar under control by adding fenugreek and cinnamon to your diet.

chandy.jpgDr. Chandy George, the Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant at Balance Wellness Club brings over 15 years of experience in the field of Ayurvedic treatments and therapies. His uncanny and remarkable ability for accurate diagnosis (using no other diagnostic tool than his three fingers to  feel your pulse - an ancient process called nadi pariksha) and his compassionate, intuitive skills have helped him treat some of the complicated imbalances with great insight and success.

VATA: The Energy to Get Going - Ayurveda: part 3

Vata.jpgVata, derived from the elements of space and air is the most powerful of the three doshas - Vata, Pitta, and Kapha and is the energy of movement.

Physically, Vata individuals are usually tend to have dry skin, hair, and lips. They also sleep lightly and have a sensitive digestive system. The balanced Vata individual is active, creative, and gifted with a natural ability to express and communicate. Psychologically, they are distinguished by a quick mind but a short memory. They are also quick to anger and to forgive.

In an individual, an imbalance of their Vata dosha can result in irregular thirst and appetite and digestion problems. In addition, it also results in drastic weight loss, hypertension, and weakness.

Psychologically an imbalance results in a propensity to get bored very easily, a penchant to act without thinking things through, and an inability to save money. Imbalance will also result in feeling out of control, anxious, and depressed.
 
Vata-meditation.jpgIt is advised for Vata individuals to dress warmly as they are prone to feeling cold. Steam and usage of humidifiers and a daily pre-shower oil massage using warmer, heavier oils like almond or sesame is also recommended.
 
Dr. Chandy believes that one of the most important things a Vata individual can do to ensure balance is to devote some time to sitting still. He says, "It is very important to have 'me' time." He further adds, "One needs to spend some time meditating. You don't have to sit cross legged and chant a mantra for this. You can meditate even when you are dusting your house or cutting the vegetables or going for a walk or a run. And this is something that everybody irrespective of their dosha should do."

Nutrition Guidelines

A Vata body type should eat warm, moist, slightly oily and heavy foods to counteract the dosha's dry and cold attributes. The best flavors to calm the Vata imbalance are sweet and salty dishes - but in moderation. As Vata individuals are naturally lean, they can eat larger quantities than individuals with other dominant doshas. It is recommended they consume warm milk, wheat, fresh fruits like apricots and vegetables which include asparagus, beets and carrots. For non-vegetarians, it is suggested to stick to fresh organic meat.
 
Your Food and Your Mood - Yogurt

yoghurt.jpgWe have all grown up believing that if there is one thing that we can binge on, it is Yogurt. It is rich in calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamins like B complex and protein. It is a lesser known fact that to digest yogurt, one must have a strong digestive system due to its tendency to ferment in the digestive tract. This is why practitioners of Ayurveda recommend consuming yogurt at noon when the digestion is at its best and pairing it with honey, goose berry or sugar.
 
Dr. Chandy says, "In moderation, yoghurt is a nutritional item as it strengthens the body, accelerates digestion, stimulates the taste buds, and reduces bladder irritability. However, bear in mind that the consumption of incompletely coagulated yogurt may flare up psoriasis, bleeding in hemorrhoids and may cause giddiness."
 
The 10 Big Villains

In this column we look at the ten big villains of modern life that have made us so susceptible to ailments. One of the biggest villains of the piece is the 'Sedentary Lifestyle' most of us lead. In recent history the incidences of heart diseases, joint problems, obesity, and diabetes have increased and are no longer limited to the middle aged and elderly.

According to Ayurveda, a direct result of a sedentary lifestyle, where people spend the majority of their time seated and not taking up any form of physical activity, is rheumatoid arthritis (Vata Sonita), which is a result of Vata imbalance.  

With diet modifications, active lifestyle and Ayurvedic treatments from qualified Ayurvedic doctors, Vata individuals can control these conditions without any of the side effects that stem when you use allopathic medicines.

Flash

Applying sour curd once a week to one's scalp and hair prevents formation of dandruff.

chandy.jpgDr. Chandy George, the Ayurvedic Lifestyle Consultant at Balance Wellness Club brings over 15 years of experience in the field of Ayurvedic treatments and therapies. His uncanny and remarkable ability for accurate diagnosis (using no other diagnostic tool than his three fingers to  feel your pulse - an ancient process called nadi pariksha) and his compassionate, intuitive skills have helped him treat some of the complicated imbalances with great insight and success.

Eat and Live Healthy This Ramadan

The Holy Month of Ramadan is here with us again. This is a time for fasting, meditation, and sharing with friends and neighbors. It is also a time to remember those ailing from conditions that might hinder them from fasting and promote a healthy and holistic lifestyle. It is in this regard that the Landmark Group has launched an e-cookbook in an initiative dubbed the Beat Diabetes campaign. We have launched this e-cookbook as part of the larger 'Beat Diabetes, Eat healthy' campaign to encourage the community to adopt a healthy balanced diet.

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The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates that one in every nine adults in the Middle East has diabetes.  According to the IDF the number of people living with diabetes worldwide rose from 366 million in 2011 to 371 million in 2012.

Through the Beat Diabetes campaign, the Landmark Group continues to encourage individuals in the Middle Eastern communities to regularly check their glucose levels for early detection and remedial measures. The initiative has benefited nearly 150,000 individuals in blood glucose testing centers across the region.

In our effort to reach out to all families, we have made this Beat Diabetes e-cookbook available for free in a digital format and can easily be downloaded from our Beat Diabetes Facebook page. It comes with 30 easy-to-make nutritious recipes which will be very helpful to families with assorted cuisine choices such as Arabic, Indian, and Thai. These are great recipes aimed at educating individuals on the importance of maintaining a healthy diet in management of diabetes.