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Shoppers receive free health checks and prevention tips at World Diabetes Day


KUALA LUMPUR: Hundreds of shoppers at Sunway Velocity Mall had the opportunity to get free health screening on diabetes.

The event, which was jointly organised by UCSI University and National Diabetes Institute (NADI), aimed to educate the public on prevention, management and complications involving the disease.

UCSI University Faculty of Applied Sciences Dean Associate Professor Dr Bimo Ario Tejo officiated the event.

Several lecturers, as well as students and NADI’s representatives, also attended the event.

At the health-screening booth, visitors received free screening for plasma blood glucose, cholesterol, blood pressure, body fat percentage and Body Mass Index (BMI).

In his keynote address, Professor Dr Bimo said diabetes patients must adopt a healthy lifestyle that comprises of a proper exercise regime and diet.

“Over time, most people with type 2 diabetes will require oral drugs and, or, insulin.

“This can be prevented or prolonged to a much later stage in life if one eats right and exercises accordingly,” he said.

According to a survey by Malaysia’s National Health and Morbidity, the prevalence of diabetes in 1986 stood at 6.3% and increased to 8.2% in 1996.

The survey showed that the existence of the disease reached 17.5% in 2015. It also predicted that about one in five Malaysians would be diabetic in 2020.

“So if the current rate of prevalence continues, there will be a surge in diabetics seeking treatment, which will increase the country’s health expenditure substantially,” Professor Dr Bimo said.

“The complication arising from diabetes can be aplenty. They include heart diseases and stroke; damage of nerves; damage of the retina in the eyes; kidney disease and failure; foot ulcer; erectile dysfunction; sexual hypofunction in women; miscarriage and stillbirth,” he explained.

Professor Dr Bimo pointed out that the initiative to educate the public was vital in order to prevent this deadly disease.

He said UCSI, following its recognition as the Regional Centre of Expertise (RCE) in the promotion of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), was driven towards creating a profound difference beyond the campus.

Citing that the event falls under the focus of Good Health and Wellbeing (SDG 3), Professor Dr Bimo praised today’s initiative and encouraged for more of such events to take place in the future.

In a talk by Universiti Putra Malaysia Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Diabetic Program Coordinator Associate Professor Barakatun-Nisak Mohd Yusof said Malaysia has the highest rate of diabetes in Asia.

“About 2.5 million Malaysian adults have diabetes. Dietary modifications play an essential role in preventing and managing diabetes; the majority of people with diabetes have not followed the appropriate dietary practices.

“Carbohydrate food influence blood glucose levels faster than protein and fat. Therefore, managing the intake of carbohydrate is an important aspect of diabetes management.

“Glycemic index is used to classify carbohydrate-based food according to its impact on blood glucose level,” she said.

Associate Professor Barakatun- Nisak explained that the higher the glycemic index of a particular food, the higher the blood glucose level and vice-versa.

“Most of our common food are usually high in Glycemic index value and therefore, reducing the consumption of such food may help people with diabetes to achieve optimal glucose control.

“This is critically needed as only less than 20% of those with diabetes achieved optimal glucose control,” she said.

UCSI’s head of nutrition and wellness, assistant professor Dr Satvinder Kaur, who spoke on metabolic syndrome, also reiterated Dr Bimo’s point on practising a healthy lifestyle as prevention to the deadly disease.

Meanwhile, associate professor Dr Patrick Nwabueze Okechukwu from the Department of Biotechnology of the same Faculty of Applied Sciences cited a report from the World Health Organization (WHO) that estimated diabetes to be the seventh leading cause of death by 2030.

“Although there are many drugs in the market for treatment of Diabetes Mellitus (DM), however, phytotherapy offer a cheap and less side effect alternative treatment for DM,” he said.