Sunday, November 13, 2011

Significant difference

A friend told us during a dinner get-together that her father’s cholesterol level had reduced from 7.5 mmol/L to 5.5 mmol/L after going on cellular nutrition for two months.
Another acquaintance shared that he used to suffer from 28 epileptic seizures a month despite being on medication, but since he started on cellular nutrition, the seizure had gone down to once a month. He was totally caught by surprise.
A mother who has a daughter born with allergies, started giving her a whole range of cellular nutrition when she first discover about cellular nutrition. The girl was six years old then. Initially, it was bad. The girl began to have more allergies but the mother kept giving it to her knowing that the cleansing effect was taking place. After six months of seriously taking the nutrition, her skin cleared up. She is now 12 years old and my husband and I could not believe that she had suffered severe allergies before. Her skin is so smooth. No one would have known that she had suffered much skin problems and scars before.
Those with allergic reaction should not worry but should persevere. Drinking a lot of water is a must during such a time. There are ways to reduce the allergic reaction. Just ask the coachJ . Those who had gone through the path will tell you that they reap sweet results after persevering through the “storm.”
I have been reading that people should just rely on natural food and forget about supplements if they are healthy. An article in an English newspaper I read mentioned that the extra money should be spent on fruits and vegetables. While I agree that people should consume more raw vegetables and fruits, how many Malaysians do that? By that, I mean 5 servings a day as recommended by dieticians? I have not come across a Malaysian who does that on a daily basis. I find it difficult to achieve that myself. A pathetic bowl of salad already cost RM8-RM12. While I do eat that whenever I can find healthy and fresh salads (those without brown marks on veges) and occasionally prepare it myself or eat ulam, it is not consistent while I can’t keep up with the cost of eating salads at every meal outside. For this reason, I supplement. And I don’t go for any supplements but cellular nutrition.
 Moreover, how much nutrition do we get in the food we eat today with monoculture farming system while filled with chemical fertilizer and pesticides? With fried and processed food, we continuously put potential cancer causing substance in our bodies. Cellular nutrition helps cleanse the body in a healthy way while nourishing it effectively. It feeds every microcells in the body. For this reason, it will benefit diabetics as well.
For this reason, I believe in a balance – have natural food as much as possible and complement it with cellular nutrition. This will definitely boost our immune system.

Monday, August 15, 2011

How much protein do we need?

Check out:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Uma Won!

John and I are really thrilled that Uma has won the first prize of RM1,500 for the Slim and Win contest. We are very impressed with his diligence in adhering to all the advice we have given him.

Of all the people we have coached, Uma’s level of discipline in taking his shake, aloe and teamix daily, as well as following our other advice was unbeatable.

We are very proud of him. We guided him on some basic nutrition as well. Yes, change is slow, so we encourage him to make better choices with his food. We often remind him that he must get his weight down because his weight is taking a toll on his organs. He may be healthy now while he is young, but no one will know when the time bomb will set off.

He lost 10.7kg from the time he came in for the first weigh-in on July 13. Yesterday was the finals. He lost from 102kg to 91.3kg. He looks much trimmer and his skin so good that his girlfriend, Yugnes, is envious:).

Uma was also the first prize winner of the first stage of the Slim and Win contest. During this second weigh-in, he lost a total of 5.7kg within a week, from 102kg to 96.3kg. Uma won RM200 and a bottle of Herbal Aloe concentrate worth RM165.24. The Aloe concentrate helps to clean up the villi in our small intestines and optimise nutrient absorption. It is also very good for improving bowel movement.

We are very proud of his achievement and happy for him, not only because he has won the prize, but that he has taken a serious step towards better health. He followed our advice closely on how to lose weight safely and effectively.

Congratulations Uma! We hope he will continue with the good results until he lose at least another 10kg.

More later...

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Much awaited Nobel Prize NiteWorks is here

THE NW Formula or NiteWorks as it is known in other countries will soon arrive at our shore and will be launched on August 6, 2011.
It contains a proprietary blend of L-Arginine and L-Citrulline that help produce nitric oxide in the body and in turn, promote overall health and energy.
The NW Formula comes in powder form and is mixed into a glass of water and consume before one goes to sleep. This is one product that every Herbalife user or anyone who wants to enhance their health, must experience to know the difference and not just read or hear about it.
For John, he says that the severity of his sinus attack reduced significantly when he was taking it for a month.
For me, I totally did not have any symptoms at all on the joints in my fingers. Although the other products have helped reduced pain in my joints, there were still the occasional mild symptoms whenever I eat the wrong food.
Apparently, people who have taken it say that they sleep better at night.
We did not manage to take more than a can since early this year because we had only bought one from Singapore to try it out. Now we can’t wait to get our supplies.
In 1998, Dr Louis Ignarro and two other scientists received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for discoveries relating to nitric oxide as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system.
During a training session in Bangkok in May 2011, Dr Ignarro says that nitric oxide is the most important substance in the body that protects us from cardio vascular diseases. It helps make the heart and blood vessels healthy and it helps prevent the clotting of blood which can lead to stroke and heart failure.
Dr Ignarro says that it helps widen the blood vessels and improve blood flow and also reduces the pains and aches in the body.
This is particularly useful for those 30 years old and older and those whose blood vessels are no longer as supple and those who have reached menopause, because women at that stage of life have a higher risk of getting heart attack (as wells as suffer from osteoporosis as age catches on)
It will also benefit diabetics and any other cardiovascular related diseases.
Dr Ignarro says that nitric oxide levels in the body begins to dwindle after age 30.
And if we are overweight even by as little as 5kg at any age, our body goes through oxidative stress which results in destruction of nitric oxide, he says.
Dr Ignarro says that more recent studies show that nitric oxide is also used by the brain to improve learning, memory and information recall.
He also encourages people to eat fruits and raw vegetables as much as they can throughout the day for this helps increase nitric oxide.
“If you can exercise one hour a day, you probably don’t need NiteWorks,” he says.
However, we may not be as diligent in doing these things consistently and adequately as a result of our busy lives, hence, the need for supplements, he says.
“So I take my NiteWorks all the time,” he says.
When we eat unhealthily, it also creates oxidative stress to the body, he says.
Dr Ignarro says that when we exercise, our body makes more nitric oxide but the exercise have to one that can pump the heart (aerobics) and should be done 4 to 5 days a week.
“Walking is not good enough. You need to get your heart rate up to 80% of your maximum heart rate.
“And you need to sweat. If you are not sweating, you are not exercising,” he says.
Dr Ignarro's discovery has gone through 35 years of research. Although he admits that the product has not gone through extensive clinical trials, it is based on excellent science. After all, he was awarded the Nobel Prize. There must surely be a concrete amount of science that goes into it, otherwise, why was he given the recognition?
To put it in perspective, supplements do not need to go through clinical trials, only drugs do, but they need to adhere to the safety aspect. 
Nevertheless, I hope that one day, Herbalife will carry out clinical trials to prove critics wrong. After all, there are many of us to take it for long term. I won't mind volunteering myself for the free supplements:)
Watch Dr Ignarro on YouTube:

Part 2:

Part 3:

See also: Health is Wealth YouTube channel:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Slim and Win winner this week

Congratulations to our contestant, Uma, for winning the first prize of the first stage of the Slim and Win contest.

I had accompanied my husband, John, to the event at night and we were very happy that he was the contestant who lost the most weight among 25 contestants. (our parallel group has 40 contestants)
He had come in for the second weigh-in and had lost a total of 5.7kg within a week, from 102kg to 96.3kg. When we first saw him as he stepped into the hall, he looked good. His body had trimmed down a little and his face was glowing. We were pleased because if he had starved himself, he would look haggard and tired. Instead, he looked fresh and full of energy and looking better!

We were very proud of his achievement and happy for him, not only because he won the prize, but that he has taken a serious step towards better health. He followed our advice closely on the important factors on how to lose weight safely and effectively.

Uma won RM200 and a bottle of Herbal Aloe concentrate worth RM165.24. The Aloe concentrate helps to clean up the villi in our small intestines and optimise nutrient absorption. It is also very good for improving bowel movement.
We hope he will continue with the good results and win the first prize of RM1,500.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Understanding Cellular Nutrition

More than half a year ago, I was helping some friends scan their basic health conditions. One thing struck me. One of them had been taking multivitamin pills of a well-known brand regularly including calcium supplements but her bone density level was not up to her age level. The scan also indicated that her nutrient absorption rate was not good. I came to a realisation that people could be taking health supplements and not know whether their bodies could absorb them.
After six months, when out of the blue she came to me, I recommended her some things that she could take from Herbalife that could improve her nutrient absorption rate. She was the first person I was trying to help who had been really diligent in taking the Herbalife nutrition seriously and regularly and I was pleasantly surprised to see her metabolic rate and calcium absorption rate improved in such a short time – within a month.  I did tell her that this is not medication and to expect significant results only at third or sixth month. In the past, many of my friends didn’t take my advice seriously, so I didn’t see any changes in the scan for them after a month. And some blamed that the product did not work but when probe further, one had not even opened the tea mix, another did not take it regularly and another  had not drank enough water and hence, felt tired due to high acidic level in the body, etc.
It had been a real challenging one-and-a-half years trying to encourage family members, relatives and friends to get healthy. So I am proud of this friend. Despite rashes on her body, she soldiered on. I did warn her that she might manifest in some allergic reaction the initial stage due to some indications I noticed. She called me a week or two weeks later and told me about the hives she suffered from on her hands. She said she had seen the doctor but prefer not to take the medication if she could. So I told her what she could do and how to use the Herbalife food for this purpose and that to give herself three to five days to see if her allergies begin to reduce. It went away and she need not take the medication. After the initial suffering, she is now well and good.
There are things out there that scientific research and development had produced (with Herbalife, a Nobel Prize scientist had done research on the core products for 35 years) and that could help us with our health and I am not sure why people are not keen to try it or use it. On the other hand, I have heard of people who are willing to spend any amount of money to buy anything that could help them regain health but it is too late because their health conditions are already irreparable. So my philosophy is – seize the opportunity while things can be repaired. I’d rather spend the money to buy health when it can be done, rather than having the money to spend but too late for any help.
Ok, here are a couple of explanations on Cellular Nutrition – the trademark of Herbalife. The second article is by an independent doctor (not from Herbalife), who gave an interesting perspective about nutrition and supplements.

Herbalife Cellular Nutrition:
Most people do not get enough nutrition. The food we eat have been depleted of vitamins, minerals and nutrients, and are often laced with toxins. The Cellular Nutrition programme provides everything our body needs to maintain good health and vitality.

Because of bad eating habits, pollution, alcohol consumption, tobacco use, exposure to toxins and stress, our bodies cannot properly absorb the nutrients we consume, and hence, Cellular Nutrition not only gives us nutrition but is also designed to help our bodies absorb the nutrition, which it does in 3 ways:

Everytime we eat, drink and breathe, we do not just take good things into our bodies but harmful things as well - substances which may be toxic to the body. Each one of our trillions of cells goes through a process called metabolism, converting oxygen, nutrients and other substances into energy or into the building blocks of new cells. Part of this continual process is called detoxification or cleansing - the removal of harmful toxins from the body. These toxins, if allowed to build up, can cause many of the allergies and ailments from which people suffer.
Cellular Nutrition helps this cleansing process through a special formula of health-giving herbs and fibers.

Inside our intestines are small finger-like projections called villi. These are part of our body's absorption system. Because of bad eating habits, stress and toxins, the villi can become impaired - breaking off or clogging up with glue-like toxic substances.
Even if we eat all the right foods, if our villi are not functioning properly the body will not be able to absorb and use the nutrition.
Cellular Nutrition is especially formulated to help cleanse and maximise our absorption system.

The next stage of the Cellular Nutrition programme is to help the cells of our body regenerate - healthy cells making copies of themselves.
The body will do this naturally it receives the right building blocks: proteins, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and trace elements.
This is the core of the cellular Nutrition program. With top quality nutrition in an absorbable format, the body's own healing mechanisms can work fully, and the result is a greater feeling of health, energy and vitality.

Article by a doctor on nutrition and supplements:
Healthy for Life Newsletter by Ray D. Strand, M.D.
March, 2007 Vol. 4 No. 2

Cellular Nutrition - A New Concept in Nutritional Medicine
Most people truly do not understand the concept of nutritional medicine and fewer yet understand the concept of cellular nutrition. This issue of the Healthy for Life Newsletter is going to focus on my personal concepts of how I practice nutritional medicine by providing cellular nutrition for every man, woman and child. Hopefully, this will give you a better understanding of how and why you can better protect or even regain your health by applying these concepts to your own life.

Concept of Oxidative Stress
Even though oxygen is necessary for life itself, it is inherently dangerous for our existence. In the process of utilizing oxygen within your cells to create energy, you also create a by-product referred to as free radicals. Free radicals are charged oxygen molecules that are missing at least one electron and desire to get an electron from the surrounding area. If it is not readily neutralized by an antioxidant, which has the ability to give this free radical the electron it desires, it can go on to create more volatile free radicals, causing damage to the cell wall, vessel wall, proteins, fats, and even the DNA nucleus of the cell. So the same process that turns a cut apple brown or rusts metal is causing you to rust inside. In fact, the medical literature now shows us that over 70 chronic degenerative diseases are the result of this process. Diseases like Coronary Artery Disease, Cancer, Diabetes, Parkinson’s, Arthritis, Macular Degeneration, MS, Lupus, and others are the result of small oxidative changes that occur over a long period of time.

It is All About Balance
The number of free radicals you produce is not steady. In other words, some days you produce more than others. Because of our stressful lifestyles, polluted environment and over-medicated society, this generation must deal with more free radicals than any previous generation that has ever walked the face of the earth. If you want to prevent oxidative stress, you need to have more antioxidants available along with their supporting nutrients than the number of free radicals you produce. You see, we are not defenseless against this process. Antioxidants are the answer. The question is: Are we able to get all the antioxidants we need from our food? This was the question I had to answer for myself and the reason that I wrote my book What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know about Nutritional Medicine. After spending over 2 years reviewing the medical literature, I concluded that the only way you have a chance of preventing oxidative stress is by taking high quality, complete and balanced nutritional supplements that provide, what I refer to as, cellular nutrition. If you have not read my book or listened to any of my CD’s on this subject, I would certainly encourage you to do just that. The medical references are detailed in my books and provide the medical evidence that demands a verdict—should you be taking nutritional supplements?

History of Nutritional Medicine
Over the past half century, nutritional medicine has been practiced with the belief that you had to determine what nutrients in which you were deficient and then supplement that particular nutrient. It became very obvious to me early on in my research that the underlying problem most of us are facing is not a nutritional deficiency, but instead, the result of oxidative stress. It was also apparent to me that medication, which actually increases the production of free radicals, would never be the answer to preventing any of these diseases. Also if this was the case, the goal had to be to provide the nutrients that were necessary to build up our body’s natural antioxidant defense system so that you did not develop oxidative stress. It became so apparent to me that our bodies, not the drugs I could prescribe, were the best defense against developing any of these diseases. The problem is not a nutritional deficiency. The problem is oxidative stress.

Modern Nutritional Research
Today’s research is focused on trying to find the magic bullet in regards to a particular disease. For example, there were many studies that showed that those smokers who had the highest antioxidant levels in their blood stream had a significantly lower risk of developing lung cancer than those smokers who had the lowest level of antioxidants. Most of the researchers felt that it was primarily due to the high levels of beta carotene. So they decided to do a study and supplement a large number of smokers with just beta carotene. They were dismayed when they found that the group that received the beta carotene alone actually had a higher incidence of lung cancer than the control group. This led researchers and the media to actually claim that beta carotene was dangerous and should not be taken in supplementation in smokers. A review of the same data reported a couple of years later showed that those smokers who had the highest levels of total antioxidants in their blood stream had a significantly decreased risk of developing lung cancer compared to those who had the lowest levels of total antioxidants.
Beta carotene is not a drug, it is merely a nutrient that we get from our food. However, because of supplementation we are now able to get it at levels you cannot obtain from your food. Beta carotene works in only certain parts of the body and against only certain kinds of free radicals. Beta carotene needs the other antioxidants along with the antioxidant minerals and B cofactors in order to do its job effectively. Researchers are focused on trying to find the magic bullet instead of stepping back and understanding the basic principles and concepts of cellular nutrition. The amazing thing is how so many of these studies that look at just one or possibly two nutrients actually show a health benefit. What would the health benefit be if you would put all of these nutrients together at these optimal levels? Enter the concept of cellular nutrition.

Concept of Cellular Nutrition
There are over 180 epidemiologic studies (studies that involve a very large number of people) that all show the very same thing. Those individuals who have the highest levels of total antioxidants in their body compared with those who have the lowest levels have a 2 to 3 fold decreased risk of Cancer, Heart Disease, Diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s dementia. Obviously, those individuals who consume more of the fresh fruits and vegetables, which contain a large amount of these antioxidants, had the highest levels of antioxidants in their body. This only makes logical sense when you understand the concept of oxidative stress as being the root cause of over 70 of these chronic degenerative diseases. Therefore, a physician would conclude the best thing that they could advise their patients to do is to be consuming at least 8 to 12 servings of fresh whole fruits and vegetables each and every day. The second best thing would be to recommend high quality, complete and balanced nutritional supplements that provided cellular nutrition.
Cellular nutrition would be defined as providing ALL of the micronutrients to the cell at these optimal or advanced levels that have been shown to provide a health benefit. Only one or two that showed a positive result in the medical literature. In other words, you would want your supplementation needs to be balanced and complete, much like a healthy diet is.
The only difference is the fact that, unlike today’s food supply, supplementation can provide all of these nutrients at optimal levels. We all need to be supplement a healthy diet. Cellular nutrition has been shown in our medical literature to build up our body’s natural immune system, antioxidant system, and repair system. You not only replenish any nutritional deficiency within 6 months of supplementation, but you also optimize all of the body’s micronutrients. You are given the absolute best chance to reverse or prevent any oxidative stress and protect your health. You see, nutritional supplementation is really about health—not disease. Nutritional supplements are natural to the body and the nutrients the body requires to function at its optimal level.
Every man, woman, and child should not only supplement a healthy diet but also be involved in a modest exercise program. This is the key to protecting and maintaining your health. However, what if you have already lost your health and have developed one of these chronic degenerative diseases? Does supplementation provide any hope? This is the question that I had to answer for myself and for my patients. This has been the focus of my practice for the past 11 years and why I have developed my online practice located at

The Concept of Synergy
Medical literature has shown me over and over again that those patients who were already suffering from a chronic degenerative disease like Rheumatoid Arthritis, MS, or Diabetes actually had significantly more oxidative stress than the normal, healthy patient. Cellular nutrition is generally adequate to help someone who is in excellent health; however, it would not be enough supplementation to bring oxidative stress under control in someone who is already suffering from a major disease.
It became very apparent to me early on that in order to be able to have any effect on improving the health of someone who was already suffering from Cancer, Heart Disease, Macular Degeneration, Diabetes, and the like that one would have to truly optimize every aspect of the body’s natural defense systems. I quickly began to realize that by placing all of my patients on basic cellular nutrition, I was able to create a synergistic effect. Vitamin E is a great antioxidant within the cell membrane. Vitamin C is a great antioxidant within the plasma. Glutathione is the best intracellular antioxidant. However, all of these antioxidants needed the antioxidant minerals and B cofactors to do their job well. Also, vitamin C was able to replenish vitamin E so it could be used over and over again. Alpha lipoic acid, another great antioxidant, was able to regenerate both vitamin E and glutathione. I found that 1 plus 1 was no longer 2, but instead, 8 or 10. This powerful approach allowed me a much better chance of bringing oxidative stress back under control.
Once my patients were consuming my recommendations of cellular nutrition, I simply began adding enhancers to their nutritional supplement regime. I began looking for the most potent antioxidants that were available. Grape seed extract was found to be 50 times more potent than vitamin E and 20 times more potent than vitamin C at handling oxidative stress. CoQ10 was not only a very important antioxidant but has been found to significantly boost our natural immune system and help provide increased energy for the cell to function at its optimal level. Other nutrients like glucosamine sulfate, saw palmetto, phytonutrients, additional vitamin E, calcium, magnesium in various illnesses produced amazing results.
Over the past 12 years, I have learned how to best support my patients’ natural defenses and allow them the best chance to take back control of their health. Again, it is all about balance. I want my patients who are already suffering from an illness to also bring oxidative stress back under control. This is my entire goal. Then and only then do they have a chance to see their health improve. By combining cellular nutrition with specific enhancers, I give all my patients the best chance of bringing oxidative stress back under control. The results that I have seen in my medical practice using these principles have been nothing short of amazing and something that I had never witnessed in my first 20 plus years of medical practice.
Now I want to share a couple of precautions that I have learned along the way.

1. Nutritional medicine is not like taking drugs. It takes a minimum of 6 months to build up the body’s natural defenses and many of my patients did not even begin to see any improvements in their health until after 6 months. Not everyone responds to my recommendations; however, I feel the majority of my patients have had significant health improvements when they followed these recommendations. None of my patients were cured of their underlying illness. Nutritional supplementation is not an alternative or substitute for traditional medical care.

2. You should never quit taking any medication prescribed by your doctor without his or her consent and direction. Many of my patients have been able to decrease their dependence of medication and in some cases even discontinue some of their medication. However, this is always because of a significant positive improvement in their health and under the direction of their personal physician.

It is my mission in life to spread these health concepts and help as many people as I can. This is why I have developed my online medical practice at I encourage you to take advantage of this website and share the potential health benefits of following my recommendations either to protect your health or possibly even to regain your health if you have already lost it.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Herbalife changed my life

Check out our friend's testimony:

Monday, April 18, 2011

Exploring health reforms

MMA: Talk to stakeholders 

Monday, The Star, April 18, 2011


PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) wants the Government to hold dialogues with various stakeholders on its plan to form the national health financing scheme.

Its president Dr David Quek said the Government's 1Care health reform currently being carried out for the purpose of setting up the financing scheme “was going too fast and lacked information”.
“If we want change or reform, we must do it with a lot of consultation with stakeholders. They need to buy into the idea,” he said.

Dr Quek also questioned if there would be a future for private practice and personal choice medical care when the health financing scheme was introduced.
Addressing the Healthcare Reform: Issues and Economics of Integration and Reimbursement Mechanisms forum in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, Dr Quek said the Government should explore various forms of healthcare change besides the national health financing scheme.
For a start, the Government should increase funding for healthcare and set up funds for catastrophic illnesses such as cancer so that people would not end up with medical bankruptcy, he said.

Dr Quek said that out-of-pocket payment in Malaysia amounted to 41% of all healthcare payment and there was a need to reduce the percentage by half because if it were to go beyond 50%, the risk of medical bankruptcy would increase.

United Nations University-International Institute of Global Health professor of health economics and consultant Datuk Dr Syed Mohamed Aljunid urged the Government to implement a case-mix system, which was a reimbursement mechanism that would help it spend funds effectively while increasing the quality of healthcare.

In any healthcare reform, questions such as revenue collection, how resources are pooled, purchasing rules and implementation needed to be resolved, he said.

Hope teachers are in good shape

Report cards to list BMI

- Monday, The Star, April 18, 2011

SUBANG JAYA: Effective immediately, the body mass index (BMI) of students will be listed on their report cards while unhealthy food and drinks are banned from school canteens.

The food or drinks in the “no-no” list include soft drinks and items with high sugar content.

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, who announced this yesterday, said this was a new move that would help parents monitor their children's health.

“By listing the BMI on their report cards, parents have the means to know whether their child's weight is ideal, overweight or obese,” he said after closing the Fifth Health Clinic Advisory Panel Convention.

Liow said parents could obtain advice from clinics on how to maintain a healthy weight for their children.

He said Malaysia was currently ranked sixth amongst Asian countries and first in South-East Asia for a high percentage of obese citizens.

“Thirty per cent of Malaysians are overweight, while another 30% are obese. That's 60%,” he said, adding that ministry data estimated that around 1.7 million Malaysians aged 18 and above were obese.

Liow said the move to list BMI on report cards had been decided at the Cabinet Committee on Non-Communicable Diseases meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on April 4.

“We have identified unhealthy canteen food such as soft drinks and others with high sugar content. These types of food are now banned from being sold,” he said.

He also advised hawkers not to sell them outside school grounds, adding that diabetes was a serious problem in Malaysia.

“Younger people are getting diabetes. Our data recorded in 2006 shows that 15% of the population above 30 years old have diabetes,” he said.

In a bid to fight this trend, Liow said the ministry was holding activities to curb more cases of diabetes, including programmes on exercise and healthy eating habits.

He said the “Less Sugar Intake” 2010 campaign would continue this year, adding that around 1.5 million adult Malaysians suffered from diabetes while another 4.8 million had hypertension.

Teachers and parents lauded the move, saying it was beneficial for children.

SJKT Ladang Highlands headmaster S. Arumugam said students, who were still in the developmental stage of their physical growth, needed proper nutritious food.

SMK Taman Desa Jaya Parent-Teacher Association member and Bahasa Malaysia teacher Mariam Mohamad said this would help students have a nutritious meal as many did not have breakfast at home.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

This is ingenius - report card on obesity for children

The Star, April 17, 2011

New measures to keep children healthy

By Isabelle Lai

Body mass index to be listed in report card, unhealthy food banned in school canteens

PETALING JAYA: Students' body mass index (BMI) will be listed in their report cards while unhealthy food will be banned in school canteens effective immediately, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.
He said these were new measures to help parents monitor their children's health.
"By listing students' BMI on their report cards, parents have the means to know whether their child's weight is ideal, overweight or obese," he told reporters here Sunday, adding that parents could obtain advice from clinics on how to maintain a healthy weight for their children.
He said Malaysia was currently ranked sixth amongst Asian countries and first in Southeast Asia for a high percentage of obese citizens.
"Thirty percent of Malaysians are overweight, while another 30% are obese. That's 60%," he said, adding that ministry data estimated around 1.7 million Malaysians aged 18 and above to be obese.
Liow said the move to list BMI in report cards was decided at the Cabinet Committee on Non-communicable Diseases chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on April 4.
"We have identified unhealthy canteen food such as soft drinks and others with high sugar content. These types of food are now banned from being sold," he said.
More in The Star Monday

Battling diseases on all fronts


There is a need for a multi-pronged strategy to make Malaysians take their health more seriously.

SEAH Boo Hee, 42, was diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes when he was 16. His kidneys failed three years ago and he now suffers bleeding in the eye due to his diabetic condition. “If I had known the severe consequences of diabetes, I would have tried harder to change my diet,” he says.

Seah admits that as a teenager, he did not know much about good diet. “My normal diet,' like most teenagers, was fast food and sometimes mamak food at night.” He also did not realise he would lose his kidneys when a doctor told him about protein leakage in his urine five years ago, he adds.

“The doctor didn't explain to me what it meant and I thought nothing was wrong because I felt fine. If I was told that it was an early sign of kidney failure, I would have done everything I could to save my kidneys.” Being saddled with many health problems, Seah who is 185cm tall and weighs 94kg is finding it hard to get a job.

Dr Ikram: ‘If they live until 65 but get diabetes at 25, that’s 40 years of diabetes. A lot of complications can set in’

“If employers know that you need dialysis and have to be away from work three days a week, your chances of getting of a job is zero,” he says. Currently jobless, this graduate used to play tennis and squash and travelled a lot. He has had to give all this up because he is not allowed to drink too much water due to his failed kidneys.

Seah's mother died of diabetic coma and one of his older sisters is also diabetic. Many patients, like Seah, do not fully understand the severe consequences of diabetic complications until one of their organs fail or when traged y strikes.

Nephrologist Dr S.S. Gill says many Malaysians think they are immune to these diseases. “They don't realise that it takes 20 to 30 years before they suffer from the effects,” he says.

Some even say they do not have chronic diseases although they are overweight. But as one ages, the risk of incidence will increase, he warns. “Our life span may now be longer, but it lacks quality.”

According to endocrinologist Datuk Prof Dr Ikram Shah Ismail, one in five Malaysians is diabetic and three quarters of deaths related to diabetes are the result of heart attack.

“This is alarming,” says Dr Ikram, who is also dean of Universiti Malaya's Faculty of Medicine. In 1996, Health Ministry data showed that 8.9% of the population were diabetic and it was predicted to reach 10% in 2020. But by 2006, the figures had shot up to 14.9% and two years ago, it reached a high of 20%.

»My ‘normal diet’, like most teenagers, was fast food and sometimes mamak food at night« SEAH BOO HEE

Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai has said the rise in chronic diseases is worrying. “Those getting chronic diseases are no longer in their 50s or older. Now, people as young as 30 or 40 are getting hypertension, heart attacks, diabetes and kidney failure. Many of these illnesses ca n be prevented,” he stresses.

He points out that the number of chronic kidney patients in the country has increased from 79 per million population in 2000 to 146 per million in 2009. The National Renal Registry reveals that the total number of patients on dialysis increased from 6,689 in 2000 to 21,159 in 2009, putting a serious strain on Malaysia's health resources.

Of these, 58% have diabetes. This puts Malaysia in the unenviable position of probably having the highest percentage of patients in the world with diabetes as the cause of end-stage kidney failure, according to Liow. Seah's case reflects three things. First, the need for doctors to talk to patients in layman's terms and help them understand the implications of their actions and their medical condition.

Secondly, parents and schools must introduce healthy diets and exercise to children from a young age; and thirdly, the whole machinery of society needs to be mobilised to support every individual in fighting chronic diseases.

Seah points out an important misconception diabetic patients tend to think that when they take medicine, everything will be all right. “They don't realise that if they don't take care of their diet and lifestyle, no medicine can prevent their organs from being damaged.”

Dr Ikram explains that although diabetes is an inherited disease, it does not mean it is unavoidable. “In the past, incidence of diabetes was low because people worked in the fields and they walked or cycled. Those with diabetic genes didn't become diabetic until much later in life, or totally avoided it.

“If they were supposed to get diabetes at 70, but died at 60, the diabetes did not appear in their lifetime.”

However, the life span is now longer and an unhealthy lifestyle has led those in their 20s or 30s to become diabetic, says Dr Ikram who believes that parents need to set good examples in their diet and also that schools should also provide healthier food options to children.

“You can imagine if they live until 65 but get diabetes at 25, that's 40 years of diabetes. A lot of complications can set in, like eye damage or kidney damage, and the quality of life will be poor.” Dr Ikram says people like to blame their parents for bad genes, but their lifestyle can determine whether they develop diabetes at the age of 30 or 70.

“For instance, many people say they cannot live without added sugar even when we tell them they are getting enough sugar from other food sources. People survived well without sugar in the past,” he says, adding that misplaced perception has also led many to see smoking as dangerous but do not consider their unhealthy diet as a problem. 

Losing weight and keeping oneself healthy, as many would attest, is a discipline in life that is almost unattainable for many.

“I try to bring down my weight but it's a struggle,” Seah, who is 16kg overweight, confesses. National Kidney Foundation chief executive officer Chua Hong Wee says even though Malaysians are now more affluent, their lifestyles have become worse and many are indulging in high-sugar and high-carbohydrate drinks and food, and eating late into the night.

“People are overeating, especially with easy access to food 24 hours a day. This poses a burden on kidneys because the organs have to work extra hard to remove waste,” he says.

People must make it a life-long practice to reduce intake of sugar and salt, eat more healthy and balanced meals, and exercise but not many have the stamina to do the right thing continuously, he points out.

The dire situation needs to be tackled with drastic measures, and the Health Ministry has rightly adopted a multi-pronged approach. It adopted an “all-of-government” and “allof- society” approach against non-communicable diseases (NCD) this year, which called for the collaboration of 11 ministries, the local authorities, the media, professional bodies, private sectors, communities and NGOs. As Malaysians eat out a lot, the quality of food at food outlets has to be given top-most attention.

This is where the Health Promotion Board has to step up efforts to make food manufacturers and operators offer healthier options. As pointed out in a conference in Kuala Lumpur recently, the Singapore Health Promotion Board, for instance, had encouraged a manufacturer to produce whole grain noodles that incorporate 10% of whole grain, half the recommended daily requirement.

Dr Ikram also feels the authorities should restrict the opening of food outlets to 10pm. “People should go home and sleep,” he says, adding that 24-hour food outlets are a relatively new phenomenon and which we managed to live without in the past.

Liow points out that Malaysians are consuming too much oil (2.1kg per person per month) and the Ministry is studying its impact on their health. 

Dr Gill says awareness must be created continuously.

Finland, for instance, had one of the highest rate of heart diseases but managed to bring down the numbers after 30 years, he says. Efforts have to start with the young, he stresses. “It's tough getting people to change but we have to keep trying.”

Most Malaysians lack exercise, which can easily solve half of our health problems. In Australia, the local council provides gymnasiums for the public to use for free, he adds Dr 

Ikram has called on local councils to provide clean and safe parks to attract people to go there. Companies too can motivate their staff members to exercise together and promote better work relations, he says.

Understanding human behaviour or attitude why people tend to be addicted to eating bad food and not healthy food is a mind boggling matter.

Universiti Malaya Centre of Addiction Sciences director Professor Dr Mohd Hussain Habil says the Government should give more grants for such studies and on whether excessive eating habits should be treated as a form of addiction or psychological issue. “This is a relatively new concept that should be explored since obesity is an important public health issue,” he says.

The American Journal of Psychiatry points out in one of its issues that standard interventions based on promoting lifestyle changes to reduce excessive food consumption and increase physical activity are effective but people could not sustain the efforts.

One in three Americans is obese, and this increases risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and other diseases, resulting in annual healthcare costs conservatively estimated for the US at $70bil to $100bil ((RM218bil to RM302bil) a year as well as reductions in life expectancy by five to 20 years.

In South Korea, naturally-derived sugar from fruit sources are often used instead of processed sugar and much of their meals, snacks and desserts contain little salt and sugar and are free of artificial colourings or additives.

The Koreans, who are very nationalistic about their food that is mostly made up of kimchi, vegetables, seaweed and fish, really take their health into their own hands.

Malaysians should emulate the Koreans as the battle against chronic diseases must be fought by the whole nation. Only when all citizens begin to take charge of their health and moti vate others to do likewise will they be healed of self-inflicted diseases.