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Diabetes can be managed with regular exercise and a healthy diet.

This is the key message the City of Johannesburg is spreading to its residents, through its partnership in the Novo Nordisk Changing Diabetes – Cycle for Change relay.

The third annual Novo Nordisk Changing Diabetes - Cycle for Change relay, is an initiative started by Dr Jacques Van Staden. It is aimed at raising funds to provide treatment for disadvantaged children living with diabetes.

On 6 November, a peloton of cyclists taking part in the relay were sent-off from the Novo Nordisk headquarters in Rivonia to Maponya Mall in Soweto, where free diabetes screening and testing stations were set up for the public.

The cyclists representing the City of Johannesburg; Novo Nordisk; Bestmed-ASG; and Bonitas among others, are currently paddling 16 000km to Cape Town, as they raise awareness for diabetes and are scheduled to arrive on 8 November.

Testing stations have been set up in Potchefstroom, Kimberley, Oudtshoorn, Paarl and Cape Town, where members of the public will receive free diabetes testing and screening.

Speaking at Maponya Mall, Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development Councillor Nonceba Molwele said the City is committed to educating communities about diabetes.

“The City of Johannesburg is honoured to be part of the Changing Diabetes – Cycle for Change initiative. Today, we’re here to talk about healthy lifestyle… in relation to managing diabetes. Diabetes is no longer a killer, only if you’re taking care of yourself… if you eat healthy and exercise.”

She said the funds raised from the initiative would go towards paying for the treatment of children living with diabetes. “Some families cannot afford treatment, but this initiative will help them afford.” She further urged people to exercise regularly and eat healthily.

Dr Jacques Van Staden encouraged people to have themselves screened and “know if they are diabetic or not, and if they have got any symptoms of diabetes”.

He said the symptoms of type 2 diabetes include excessive thirst; hunger; tiredness and urination.

“People should have themselves tested. It’s [diabetes] a preventable condition that can be managed very well,” Van Staden added.

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