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Driving change in diet and lifestyle

02 March 2017

TIME and time again, health organisations and brands have been reminding people to be responsible about their own health and diet.

As part of its observation of World Diabetes Day on Nov 14, Nestle Health Science renewed its commitment to empower more individuals to change their lifestyle for the better.

Working together with Diabetes Malaysia, both organisations stepped up for the “Nutren Together We Take Charge” World Diabetes Day event to call for more people to look into their eating habits.

“Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable and manageable, and the International Diabetes Federation estimates that up to 70% of cases could be prevented through lifestyle intervention.

“However, many people put off changing their lifestyle because they don’t believe it will affect them,” said Nestle Health Science business executive officer Emilyn Loo.

She said people were in need of a shift in mindset if they wanted to make a breakthrough, with a conscious decision to address and change their lifestyle habits.

“Nestle is dedicated to working with organisations such as Diabetes Malaysia to further educate and raise awareness on the prevention and management of this disease,” Loo added.

At the event, Diabetes Malaysia president Prof Datuk Dr Ikram Shah Ismail said Malaysians were not spared the rising epidemic of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) and its risk factors, much like other parts of the world.

He said results of the 2015 National Health and Morbidity Survey indicated that NCD risk factors continued to rise among Malaysians, with 2.6mil adult Malaysians having diabetes, 5.3mil with hypertension, 6.2mil with hypercholesterolaemia and 2.5mil with obesity.

“What is even more worrying is that the proportion of those undiagnosed continues to increase further.”

Dr Ikram said to effectively prevent obesity and NCDs such as diabetes, there needs to more collective effort in the public and private sectors, ministries and other relevant sectors.

“Informative events provide an excellent platform for sharing innovative and creative ideas that can benefit the quality of care for Malaysians,” he said.

About 150 people took part in the day’s activities, kicking off with a blood glucose test by Diabetes Malaysia and Roche Diagnostics, followed by a healthy breakfast, and a Zumba workout.

They also took the opportunity to sample the Nutren range of products, learn of balanced food intake and exercise routines, as well as cooking tips by culinary expert Chef Wan, who demonstrated two dishes with a healthy twist.

He prepared two Nutren-infused dishes, including rendang where the coconut milk was replaced by Nutren, as well as Buburaneka, a congee dish with a mix of unprocessed rice he frequently made for his late father who had suffered from diabetes.

“Many people assume that food prepared for diabetics is bland and tasteless, that’s wrong.

“By making simple modifications to the recipes such as replacing bad carbs with good carbs such as whole grains, legumes and nuts, adding more fibre and cutting down on saturated fat, you can still create a delicious dish without compromising the flavour,” said the chef.

Based on his personal experience, Chef Wan likes to experiment with recipes for a healthier twist, and it is also the reason he is passionate about spreading the message on healthier eating and combating obesity.

He also said many people choose to blame the problem on the food they eat when, instead, their own eating habits were to be blamed.

“When it comes to food, we have the choice, we need to be responsible for what we eat,” he said.

This article was first published in The Star on 16 November 2016.

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