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Obesity: What Can Malaysians Do to Lose Weight?

Malaysia has been rated as the highest among Asian countries for obesity (The Star, June 16th, 2014). Findings from British medical journal, The Lancet, showed that 49% of women and 44% of men in this country were found to be obese. This is extremely disturbing as obesity has implication on diabetes, heart problem and other debilitating diseases. So what can Malaysians do to reverse the findings? One way is to understand the basic of weight management and take crucial steps to reverse the effect.

What is obesity?

Obesity is defined as accumulation of excessive amount of fat that may lead to impairment of your health.

How do you know if you have excessive weight?

1. One way is by estimating your ideal weight based on your height in centimeters:
HEIGHT – 100kg = ideal weight, e.g.; 170 cm – 100 kg = 70 kg
Range is ±10% i.e.; 70 + 7 = 77 kg max

2. Another way is by Body Mass Index measurement taking into account your height and weight.

3. Waistline circumference. Perhaps the simplest of all measurements, as it provides an accurate assessment of visceral fat mass which has been shown to be a key indicator of risk factors for major cardiovascular disease. A waistline circumference >88 cm in women and >102 cm in men refl ects a signifi cantly increased risk of developing many of the co-morbidities associated with obesity.

Why are Malaysians becoming fatter?

Compared to other South East Asian countries, 44.2% of Malaysian population is overweight surpassing Singapore (30.2%), Thailand (32.2%), Philippines (26.5%) and Indonesia (21%). This is mainly contributed by our diet that is high in carbohydrates, fats and sugar such as rice, bread, roti canai, nasi lemak, kuih and cakes. We are also physically less active compared to our forefathers. With economic growth and globalisation, rich food has become more easily accessible and affordable. Excessive consumption of high calorie food coupled with physical inactivity will potentiate Malaysia to become an obese nation.

What are some practical steps to lose weight?

Eat right

Malaysians simply consume too much calories in our diet. Choose wisely for high protein, low carbohydrate, and low fat diet to make you feel full faster and longer.

Satisfy your binges

Substitute unhealthy snacks such as kuihs, candies, chocolates, chips with fruits and vegetables (fresh cucumber, green apples).

Have a starter

Start your meal with a bowl of clear soup or simply clean your palate with a glass of water before eating.

Enjoy your food

Chew slowly and savour every bite of your food.

Stay active

Exercise regularly to stay fit and healthy.

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