In early December, 2013, my travels took me to the Persian Gulf and the coastal city of Doha, capital of Qatar. I was there to speak at a meeting called “Excellence in Pediatrics” (EiP). It was a great meeting that attracted physicians from around the world and included a variety of topics geared toward practicing pediatricians. I gave several lectures at this meeting, including talks on the Pre Participation Physical Exam and Promoting Physical Activity in kids. The conference was held the beautiful Qatar National Convention Center with close to 1500 in attendance.

In addition to the EiP meeting, I also participated in the 2013 Active Healthy Living Summit that was held concurrently. This was an exciting meeting that brought together experts from around the world to discuss the global and related problems of inactivity and obesity. There were multiple international delegations attending the meeting, including those from the U.S., Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Qatar and the United Kingdom. Once again I was reminded just how similar the issues facing patients are around the world today. The most common worldwide causes of death today are no longer infections or malnutrition, but rather non-communicable diseases (NCD’s) such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. And we know that all of these diseases are profoundly affected by physical activity levels and that exercise is the single best treatment to prevent and even cure virtually all NCD’s. So it was very exciting to take part in a global forum striving to promote active healthy living.

Of course, while I was in Doha I found time to walk every day. The weather was beautiful and there were great sights to take in while walking around the city and along the sea. My favorite place to walk was a waterfront promenade along Doha Bay called the Corniche. I also had a chance to visit the beautiful Aspetar Hospital and meet with some of their world class sports medicine physicians, who are gearing up to support the FIFA World Cup soccer championships that will be held in Doha in 2022. In addition, this same group is committed to improving the activity levels of everyone in Qatar.

Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you are feeling a similar commitment to improve your own activity level in 2014 and make sure you are getting 30 minutes of brisk walking in every day!

Keep walking my friends.