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Eat Right,

Move More,

ISBN 978-967-5737-05-3


Published by

Nutrition Society of Malaysia

Malaysian Dietitians Association

Malaysian Association for the

Study of Obesity


Achievements of NMM (2002-2013)

Since its launch in 2002, Nutrition Month Malaysia (NMM) has been observed every April to promote greater
awareness of the practice of healthy eating habits among Malaysians. In this 11th year, NMM focuses on the
prevention of non-communicable diseases with the theme, Eat Right, Be Active: Stay Free from Diet-Related
Our nationwide campaign aims to promote greater awareness on healthy eating and active living as the foundation
for general good health and wellbeing. We also aim to inculcate healthy eating habits and encourage physical
activity from young, so as to improve the nutritional status of Malaysian families.

Family Carnival
Organised 7 major
fun-filled carnivals
School & Kindergarten
Visited 160 primary schools
and provided healthy eating
and active living messages
Visited 175 kindergartens
and conducted interactive
nutrition activities
Publications for Public
Published 6 practical nutrition guidebooks, 3 recipe
books and 1 mini-booklet

Materials for
School Children &
Published comic
book and activity
book for primary
school children
 ublished DVD
and worksheets for



Makan Belajar.
Kanak-kanak Sihat, Negara Lebih Sihat

Memupuk Gaya

Kanak-kanak Sihat, Negara Lebih Sihat

Memupuk Gaya Pemakanan Sihat

Untuk Kanak-Kanak Pra-sekolah (4-6 tahun)
Bahagian 1: Makan Secara Sihat,
DVD Untuk Kanak-Kanak
Bahagian 2: MakanSarapan,
Secara Sihat,
Bahagian 3: Makan Secara
Dengan Kuat
Bermain Dengan


Bahagian 2:
Makan Sarapan,
Pandai Belajar Disokong oleh

Dengan sokongan

Geran Promosi Kesihatan daripada

Makan Secara Sihat,
Bermain Dengan Cergas

Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia


Dengan sokongan

Disokong oleh Geran

Promosi Kesihatan daripada

Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia

onton DVD


as men


ini selep
s aktiviti


Educational Press
Published over 73
articles in English,
Bahasa Malaysia
& Chinese
Mass Media
messages through radio, television &

Visit our website to obtain more information on educational materials from the Nutrition Month Malaysia
programme. We also welcome feedback/queries. To reach us, please contact:

The Nutrition Month Malaysia Secretariat

Tel: (03) 5632 3301/5637 3526 Email:
Nutrition Month Malaysia

Eat Right,
Move More:

Fight Obesity

Obesity has become a serious concern in Malaysia nowadays. According to a

study by World Health Organization (WHO) in 2010, Malaysia has been ranked the
fattest country in South-East Asia and the sixth in all of Asia. Although there are
Malaysians who are aware of the concerns of obesity, there are still many who do
not realise its consequences.
Based on the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) from 1996 to 2011,
the obesity rate in Malaysia has increased by almost three and a half times, from
4.4% in 1996 to 15.1% in 2011. Meanwhile, the prevalence of overweight increased
29.4% in 2011, which means about 50% or 1 out of 2 Malaysian adults are either
overweight or obese.
In recognition of this growing problem, NMM has selected the theme of Eat
Right, Move More: Fight Obesity. This is to emphasise the importance of obesity
prevention as it is one of the major risk factors for non-communicable diseases
(NCDs). The promotion of healthy eating and being physically active should start
together with your family as this is the key to maintain a healthy body weight
and prevent diet-related diseases.
There are no shortcuts to become healthy. Regardless of age, everyone
should practice a healthy eating diet and be physically active every day. As a
parent, your role is important in inculcating a healthy eating lifestyle among
your children since young.
This guidebook explores the risk factors of obesity and provides practical
tips to achieve healthy body weight. You will also be able to learn now
ways to improve your diet and lifestyle, including how to use healthy and
delicious cooking methods. This guidebook also includes the importance
of physical activity in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. For individuals
who are overweight and obese, there is a section on weight loss to
guide you on how to lose weight safely.
We hope that this guidebook will inspire you to start a healthy
lifestyle by eating right and staying active with your family.

Dr Tee E Siong,
Chairman of NMM Steering Committee

Nutrition Month Malaysia National

Steering Committee

About Obesity

4 Dangers of Being Obese

Dr Tee E Siong
Nutrition Society of Malaysia:

6 Achieving Healthy Weight for Life

8 Physical Activities Required to Burn Calories from


Eat Right

9 3 Keys of Eating Right: B-M-V (Balance-ModerationVariety)

10 Balance & Variety with the Power of 5

12 Keep Portions in Moderation
Assoc. Prof Dr
Zaitun Yassin

Dr Mahenderan

Malaysian Dietitians Association:

14 Putting B-M-V into Practice!

16 Figuring Out Food Labels

18 Eating Right Wherever You Are!

20 Cook Up Healthy Meals

Move More

22 Get Up, Be Fit For Your Health

Prof Winnie Chee

Mr Ng Kar Foo

Malaysian Association for

the Study of Obesity:

23 Use the Physical Activity Pyramid to Get You Active

Weight Monitoring
26 Assess Your Weight Status

Question and Answer

29 Ask the Experts about Weight Management

Prof Dr Norimah
A Karim

Dr Zawiah Hashim

Weight Loss

32 Lose Weight Safely

34 Healthy Diet to Lose Weight

This book is not in any way intended to substitute medical
advice from your doctor or health professionals. When in
doubt, please consult your doctor. The Nutrition Society of
Malaysia (NSM), Malaysian Dietitians Association (MDA) and
the Malaysian Association for the Study of Obesity (MASO) are
not liable for any issue arising from the use of this book.
NSM, MDA and MASO do not endorse any products and are
not responsible for any claims made in the advertisements.
Intellectual property is vested in the Nutrition Month Malaysia
(NMM) programme. No part of this book shall be reprinted
without the written permission of the National Steering
Committee of NMM.
Copyright reserved Nutrition Month Malaysia (NMM) 2014.


12A, Jalan PJS 8/4, Mentari Plaza, Bandar Sunway,

46150 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-5632 3301 Fax: 03-5638 9909

36 Be Physically Active

38 Questions and Answers:

Weight Loss Guide

Nutrition Month Malaysia, NMM is managed and implemented by professional bodies
and supported by the private sector. The initiative reflects the spirit of partnership that is
essential to facilitate the dissemination of appropriate nutrition information to the general
public for the wellbeing of all.
We would like to thank the following organizations for contributing towards the successful
implementation of NMM activities for 2014.


With support from

Serba Wangi Sdn Bhd

Ace Canning Corporation

Sdn Bhd

Media partners

We also place on record our sincere appreciation to the mass media of Malaysia for helping
us to disseminate the message of healthy eating across the nation.

About Obesity

of Being
Being overweight or obese means having a body
weight that is greater than what is considered a
healthy weight range for a given height. It results
from excessive fat accumulating in your body.
Obesity is a life-threatening condition that can
negatively affect practically all aspects of your
health in the long run.

Consequences of Overweight and


Having excessive weight (and fat) adversely impacts several organs and parts of your body,
resulting in various diseases such as:
Excess tissue restricts airways,
which can cause sleep apnea,
in which breathing stops

Obese children have higher rates of
depression, negative body image and
low self-esteem
Cholesterol build up can thicken
artery walls, restrict blood flow
and increase the risk of diseases
and stroke

Cholesterol build up can
thicken artery walls, restrict
blood flow and increase the risk
of heart disease and stroke

Dark, velvety patches on
the neck or armpits can
be a sign of obesity related
health problems like diabetes

Fatty liver
Obesity leads to abnormally
large organs
Damaged cells are replaced by
scar tissue

Sustained high blood pressure,
or hypertension, can damage
the kidneys and lead to kidney

Too much adipose tissue
may lead to early puberty (at the
age of 10) where it causes sex organs
to mature earlier.

Excess fat can impair the pancreass
ability to use insulin to control blood
sugar, leading to Type 2 diabetes


Body mass index (BMI) is an index of weight-for-height

that is used to categorise overweight and obesity in adults.
An adult with a BMI between 25 and 29.9 is overweight while
BMI of 30 or higher is obese.
*refer page 28 to calculate your BMI

Main Causes of Obesity

Being overweight or obese does not
happen overnight; it occurs when you
continue practicing an unhealthy lifestyle
over a period of time, which leads to
energy imbalance. The biggest problem
often lies in having unhealthy eating
habits and a lack of physical activity.
By frequently consuming more energy
than your body needs and not utilising
the consumed energy through physical
activity, there is a large excess of
unutilised energy. What does the body do
with this unutilised energy? It will store it
as fat.

Common mistakes people do that can cause

energy imbalance:


Choosing foods that are energy dense

high in fat and sugar
Regularly consuming large portion sizes
and frequent binge eating/snacking

Giving in to a sedentary lifestyles not

engaging in any form of physical activity
and exercises, choosing to walk less
and sitting down more often in front of
computer or TV

Fight the Flab


A healthy weight is crucial for people of all

ages. Besides looking and feeling good, a
healthy body weight helps you to prevent
from diet-related chronic diseases (e.g.
Childhood Obesity: What
diabetes, hypertension, heart disease
every parent needs to know
and cancers). Attaining and maintaining
a healthy weight starts with healthy
Chubby is not always cute especially because
eating and a physically more active
your child is more likely to be overweight or
lifestyle. Even if you are already
obese as an adult. This will lead to additional future
overweight or obese, its never
risks such as breathing difficulties, increased risk
too late to do something. Start
of fractures, hypertension, insulin resistance, and
making changes now, for
psychological effects (low self-esteem).
yourself and your family!
The first step to find out if your child is at risk of overweight
(Refer to the Weight
or obesity is to measure your childs BMI.
Management Section)
Turn to page 28 to find out how.


About Obesity


for Life

Your food choices and the level of physical activity you engage in
daily, play an important role in helping you to maintain a healthy body
weight. The energy that you expend through your daily activities has to
equal the energy that you consume as calories. If your energy use and
energy consumption are equal, then you are in energy balance.

Striking a Balance
To keep a healthy weight, you need to
understand the principles of energy
balance. This means, you must maintain a
balance between the energy derived from
the food you eat, and the energy you use
through physical activity.


things to keep in mind when reading this section:

You need energy to maintain your bodys vital processes
(e.g breathing) and for your basic everyday activities
(e.g sleeping, bathing, walking or other daily activities).


Energy you need comes from the food

you eat.

Kilocalorie (Kcal) is the measurement unit for energy.

E.g. 1 plate fried mamak mee = 660kcals



If your daily food intake regularly exceeds

the amount of physical activity you do, you
will gain weight and become overweight
and obese. This brings about increased
risk to serious health problems i.e. noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes,
cardiovascular diseases and cancers.

If your daily food intake is regularly too low

and you are very active physically, you will
lose weight. Being underweight can affect your
overall health by causing problems such as
muscle atrophy, weakened immunity, inability to
concentrate and eventually organ failure.

Understanding this basic principle is the first step towards maintaining a healthy weight.
Next, youll need to watch your food intake by eating right, in accordance with
the Malaysian food pyramid.

How Much Energy Do You

Actually Need?

Daily energy requirements for


Your gender, age, height, weight, body size, physical

activity level and your basal metabolic rate are some of
the factors that determine the amount of energy you need
in a day. For instance, the more physically active you are,
the more energy (calories) you will need for each day.
You can refer to the table below to find out your daily
energy requirement based on which category you fall

Energy requirement
per day (in calories)

Sedentary women
Older adult

1500 kcal

Most children
Teenage girls
Moderately active women
Sedentary men

2000 kcal

Teenage boys
Active men
Very active women
Underweight men & women

2500 kcal

Pregnant women

Plus additional 400 kcal

daily from 2nd trimester

Breastfeeding women

Plus additional 500 kcal

daily if breastfeeding

c Babies (0-1 years): ~ 550 640 kcal

(0-6 months breast milk only)
c Toddler (1-3 years): ~ 900 kcal
c Pre-school (4-6 years): ~ 1300 kcal
c Primary school (7-9 years):
~ 1700 kcal
c Early adolescent (10-12 years):
~ 2000 kcal

Golden Keys to Maintaining a

Healthy Weight


Follow the principle of Balance,

Moderation and Variety (B-M-V)
from the Malaysian food pyramid


Make healthier food choices

Engage in physical activity

Monitor your weight regularly to

keep it within a healthy range

About Obesity

to Burn Calories
from Food
One way to know if you are balancing your energy intake and expenditure is to be mindful of the
calories in your food. Below are some examples of common foods and the equivalent physical
activities needed to expend this energy.
Calorie content in
1 serving


Duration of Physical Activity Needed

to Burn the amount of Calorie in
1 serving of the Food

1 plate nasi lemak with fried


640 kcal

Jog for 1 hour and 45 minutes

1 plate fried Kueh-Teow

320 kcal

Play badminton for 1 hour

1 piece roti canai

300 kcal

Brisk walk for 1 hour and 15 minutes

1 piece fried chicken

260 kcal

Dance for 45 minutes

1 bowl of curry noodle

530 kcal

Swim for 1 hour and 15 minutes

1 whole chicken burger

440 kcal

Jog for 1 hour and 15 minutes

1 glass teh tarik

140 kcal

Brisk walk for 35 minutes

1 can carbonated drink

140 kcal

Sweeping the floorfor 1 hour

3 pieces banana fritters

390 kcal

Cycle for 2 hours

2 pieces curry puff

260 kcal

Walk for 1 hour and 20 minutes

Tips to
energy in
real life


Keep your calorie limit in mind when deciding what to eat and drink.
Keep track of what you eat in a food diary to avoid unconscious
Go for an activity that is easily achievable, like walking around your
neighbourhood after eating
After having heavy meals, walk or use the staircase as much as you can
Think twice before you order your dessert
If you eat high calorie foods (e.g. fried chicken) for lunch, choose a
lower calorie option for dinner (e.g. steamed fish)

| 10 |

Healthy Eating

3 Keys to
Eating Right:

B-M-V (Balance-Moderation-Variety)
The first step to maintain a healthy
weight is to eat right. Practise eating
a healthy diet so that you can gain
a proper combination of essential
nutrients and energy to go about your
daily activities.


Fat, oil, sugar and salt

Eat less

Fish, poultry, meat,

eggs and legumes
Milk and milk

Use the Malaysian Food Pyramid as a

tool to guide you. It will help you obtain
proper nutrition by eating a balanced
meal comprising of a variety of food in
moderate amounts.

1 3 servings /day
Eat in moderation

-2 servings of poultry/
meat/ egg/ day
1 serving of fish/day
-1 serving of legumes/day
Eat in moderation



2 servings/day
Eat plenty

3 servings/day
Eat plenty

Here are a few things you should know about

the food pyramid:

Rice, noodle,
bread, cereals,
cereal products
and tubers

c It has four levels that represent various food


4-8 servings/day
Eat adequately

c It shows the amount (in servings) of food you

should eat from each group daily
c From the bottom to the top of the food pyramid,
the number of servings of each food group
becomes smaller.
c Foods at the base of the pyramid should be eaten the most daily as
they contain the highest source of energy, while foods at the top of pyramid should be consumed less.

c There is a range of servings indicated for each food group in the pyramid. This is to cater for the varying needs of
individuals. For individuals who are not physically active, opt for the smaller number of servings, especially for the
food group at the base.
c It allows you to practise 3 key principles of eating right:

1. Balance
To eat a balanced meal,
your diet should contain
a combination of foods
from all the food groups
in the Pyramid.

2. Moderation
Eat the right amounts of foods
by observing the number of
servings recommended for
each food group. This will help
you maintain a healthy weight
and optimize your bodys
metabolic process.

| 11 |

3. Variety
Consume different types of
foods from each food group
so that you get all the different
nutrients that your body needs.
No one food contains all the
nutrients our body needs.

Makan Secara Sihat

Balance and Varie

Each food group in the Food Pyramid has different functions and
benefits. You can achieve balance in your diet by consuming food
from all five food groups during main meals at the recommended
number of servings. As no single food can provide you with all
the nutrients you need, you should select various types of foods
from each food group in order to achieve variety and increase
your chances of consuming a multitude of nutrients and other food

Balanced and Varied

diets are keys to
obtaining all the
essential nutrients
your body needs.

Group 1:

Grains and grainbased products

Group 2:

Group 3:






* Great sources of
energy, B vitamins,
minerals and dietary

* Wonderful sources of fibre,

phytonutrients, vitamins and

* Wonderful sources of
fibre phytonutrients,
vitamins and minerals

* Help to boost the immune

system, support normal growth
and development and help cells
and organs to function well

* Help to boost the

immune system, support
normal growth and
development, and help
cells and organs to
function well

* Eat whole grain

products as they
contain higher dietary
fibre, vitamins and
Sources: Rice, wheat,
oats, barley, and grain
products such as noodles,
bread, biscuits and
breakfast cereals

Sources: Green leafy veggies

(kangkung, spinach), root
veggies (carrots, white radish),
fruit veggies (tomato, brinjal),
cruciferous veggies (cabbage,
broccoli), legume veggies (French
beans, long beans).

Oil, salt, sugar

eat less

Sources: Guava, papaya,

bananas, watermelon, ciku,
apples, pears, oranges

c Oils, salt and sugar are situated at the peak of

pyramid. These are not considered as essential
food groups and must be consumed in small
c Avoid consuming foods that are prepared with
excessive amounts of oils, salt and sugar especially
processed foods like cookies, doughnut, and
various chips.
| 12 |

ty with the

Group 4:

Fish, meat, poultry,

eggs, and legumes

Group 5:

Milk and dairy products



* Provide high quality


* Rich sources of calcium,

protein, vitamins and minerals.

* Essential for the bodys

growth and maintenance

* Calcium is needed for building

bones and teeth as well as
maintaining bone mass.

* Protein is also needed

to produce enzymes and
hormones, repair and
form blood cells, and
strengthen the immune
Sources: fish, chicken, duck,
beef, mutton, lamb, pork,
eggs, tofu, various legumes

Tips to achieve
balance and
U Include all food groups in
your daily meals. Dont omit
any food group even if you
intend to lose weight.

* Calcium is important for

children as their bone mass is
still being built.

U Choose different types of

food for your daily meals.
For example, choose fish for
lunch and opt for chicken for
dinner; or spinach for lunch
and long beans for dinner.

Sources: Milk, yoghurt, cheese,

ice cream.
Note: Bear in mind that sweetened
condensed milk is not considered as a milk
product as it is low in nutritional value and
high in sugar content.

c Consumption of too much oil and

sugar could lead to excess energy
intake, thus leading to overweight and
c Consumption of too much salt could
increase risk to diseases such as


ss of Fib

c Helps
promote re
gular bow
healthy g
el movem
ent and a
c Helps
lower blo
od choles
glucose le
terol and
c Good
mung bea s of fibre: Legume
s (e.g. red
ns, dhal,
grains an
), whole
d whole g
rain produ
s and fruit
| 13 |

Healthy Eating

Keep Portions
One of the keys to maintaining a healthy
weight is to eat in moderation. Control
portion sizes by taking the right number
of servings to avoid overeating. A serving
is the recommended amount of foods
that you consume daily using household
measures for foods and drinks e.g. a cup,
plate, bowl, tablespoon and teaspoon.

Eat according to the number of servings for each group recommended in

the food pyramid
Do you know exactly how many servings of foods you need to consume daily based on the food pyramid?
The table below will show you just how much you need to eat every day based on the energy (calorie) your
body needs.

Food group

Food group
1500 kcal/day*

2000 kcal/day*

2500 kcal/day*

Cereals & cereal products

4 servings

6 servings

8 servings


3 servings

3 servings

3 servings


2 servings

2 servings

2 servings

Meat / Poultry


1 serving

2 servings


1 serving

1 serving

1 serving



1 serving

1 serving

1 serving

2 servings

3 servings

Meat, poultry, fish and legumes

Milk and Dairy products

*To know which category you fall in, please refer to page 9 under the topic Energy Balance.

Portion Sizes for kids

Children need adequate amounts of energy and nutrients from healthy sources for optimum growth and
development. Too much or too few calories can cause problems like childhood obesity, being stunted and
underweight which can lead to bigger problems when they grow up. The table below will help you to estimate
the amount of calories and the number of servings of foods that your child needs throughout the day.

| 14 |

Food group

Energy needs
1300 kcal/day
(4-6 years)

1600 kcal/day
(7-9 years)

2000 kcal/day
(10-12 years)

Cereals & cereal products

3 servings

5 servings

6 servings


2 servings

3 servings

3 servings


2 servings

2 servings

2 servings


1 serving

1 serving


1 serving

1 serving

1 serving



1 serving

1 serving

2 servings

2 servings

2 servings

Meat, poultry, fish and legumes

Meat / Poultry

Milk and Dairy products

Examples of 1 serving according to Food Pyramid

Use the table below to understand what one serving for various foods mean:
Group 1:
Cereals & cereal

Group 2:

1 cup white rice,

1 cup mee hoon,
6 Pieces crackers
2 slices bread
2 cups porridge
1 cup noodle/
kuey teow, wet

cup green leafy

vegetables with
edible stem,
cooked (eg.
sawi, kangkung)
cup fruit
cooked (eg.
1 cup ulam, raw

Group 3:
1 whole apple/
1 slice papaya/
4 small prunes
3 pieces durian
8 small grapes

Group 4:

Group 5:
Milk & dairy

1 piece chicken
1 medium kembung
2 tablespoon sliced
lean beef
2 whole eggs
2 medium squid
1 cup dhal/chickpea
1 glasses soya
bean drink

1 slice cheese
1 glass milk
1 cup yoghurt
4 dessert spoon
milk powder

Note: To know how to translate the serving size into daily meals, please refer to the example in the chapter Put B.M.V into Practice!
on page 16.

Practical Portion Control Tips

c Avoid using big plates so that you dont tend to put large amounts of
food on it.
c Imagine the plate has four quadrants. Fill half the plate with
vegetables, leaving a quarter for rice and meat or legume products
c Whenever possible, eat your vegetables first as high fibre foods
tend to make you feel full faster and prevent you from overeating.
c Practise regular meal and snack times. Skipping meals tend to
make you overeat at the next meal.
c Avoid going to buffet-style restaurants or eat-as much as you can
type of meals if you tend to overeat.

| 15 |

Eat to live, not

live to Eat
Too much of anything
whether it is good or
bad will not bring any
good to your body.
When it comes to
eating, always take a
moderate approach not too much and not
too little. Remember
to eat according to the
right portions from an
early age in order to
prevent obesity.

Healthy Eating

Put B-M-V

Into Practice!

Now that you understand the food pyramid and the keys to healthy eating through the concept of balance,
moderation and variety, its time to put your knowledge into practice. Use the table below as a guide on how
much should you be eating at each meal.
The illustrations of food below show the correct recommended number of servings for each food group.

1 cup of breakfast
cereal (Group 1)

Mid-morning snack

1 glass milk
(Group 5)

cup spinach
(Group 2)

1 glass chocolate
milk (Group 5)

1 piece chicken
(Group 4)

6 pieces cream cracker

(Group 1)

whole guava
(Group 3)

1 banana
(Group 3)

Evening Snack
1 cup
cooked dhal
(Group 4)


cup mixed
(Group 2)

cup sawi and bean

sprout (Group 2)

1 cup brown rice

(Group 1)

2 tbsp sliced lean

meat (Group 4)

1 cup bihun
(Group 1)

1 piece tosai
(Group 1)

Each dish shows an
example of 1 serving
for each meal

If you total up the number of servings from the meal above, you will find that the numbers of
servings per day (based on 2000 kcal) are as below:
Group 1 (Cereal s and cereal products):

5 servings

Group 2 (Vegetables):

3 servings

Group 3 (Fruits):

2 servings

Group 4 (Fish / Chicken / Meat / Egg):

2 servings

Group 4 (Legumes):

1 serving

Group 5 (Milk & dairy products):

2 servings
| 16 |

Plan Your Mea

orporate the
idea on how to inc
You now have an
s into your daily
ber of food se
y or even weekly)
meals ahead (dail
have control
meals. Plan your
ensure that you
for you an
e each day. This
much you consum
in the recommen
able to stay with
is als
e. Meal planning
daily energy intak
riety from meal
oderation and va
c Ensu
to meal
s to avoid boredo
rotate your dishe
c Allows you to
ts wastage
oney and preven
c Saves time, m
ys meal plan ba
examples of 2 da
Below are some
on 2000 kcal die


E.g Weekday 1

E.g Weekday 2

1 cup wholegrain breakfast cereals

1 banana
1 glass milk

2 pieces wholemeal bread

1 egg omelette
1 whole apple
1 glass milk

Keep calorie

4 small apam, steamed

Plain water

3 pcs cream crackers

Plain water


1 cup brown rice

1 chicken drumstick,steamed
cup kangkung, stir fried
whole guava
Plain water

1 cup spaghetti
cup carrot and broccoli, sliced
cup meatballs
1 piece small mango
Plain water

3 pcs popiah basah

1 glass milk

1cup chick peas, steamed

Plain water

1 cup noodle in soup

cup sawi, boiled
2 tbsp lean meat,sliced
Plain water

cup mashed potato

1 bun
1 piece lean roasted chicken
1 scoop low fat coleslaw
Plain water

Keep calorie to
< 600kcal

to < 150kcal

Keep calorie to
Afternoon Snack
Keep calorie to
Keep calorie to

Simple and Practical!

If meal planning isnt what you can follow easily, just be more aware of what you consume
throughout each day by adapting a simple balancing plan. For example:
c If you had no vegetable choices to choose from when ordering your lunch at the caf,
top up your vegetable intake at dinner when you are at home.
c If you had gone overboard with the number of servings at an open house lunch buffet,
cut down your intake at dinner. What matters is the whole days food intake.
This simple balancing method will still ensure you are consuming foods according to your
energy needs.

| 17 |

Healthy Eating

Out Food
When purchasing pre-packaged foods at the supermarket, we often overlook to read food labels on the
packaging. Reading food labels in fact can play a major role in weight maintenance as it helps us make
healthier food choices.
By reading the nutrition information on food labels, you can find out the energy and nutrient content of
the product as well as other information such as nutrient content claims.
Knowing what nutrition information to look for, can help you make better choice for your health and
avoid unnecessary fat, salt, sugars and energy (calories). Heres what to look for when youre reading a
food label:

Nutrition Information Panel (NIP)

The NIP is a table found on the label of pre-packaged foods that lists the amount of energy and several
nutrients contained in the food. This is provided so that you can understand the amount of energy and
nutrients you are taking in when consuming the food. This helps you to manage the total amount of
energy consumed in a day. NIP also enables you to compare the nutritional content among different
brands of similar food and find out which ones are higher or lower in certain nutrients.
Nutrition Information (Cereal Brand A)

Nutrition Information (Cereal Brand B)

Serving size: 45g Servings per package: 4


Serving size: 45g Servings per package: 4

Per 100 g

Per serving (45g)



Energy (kcal)

Energy (kcal)
Carbohydrate (g)


Per 100 g

Per serving (45g)





Carbohydrate (g)



Sugars (g)



Sugars (g)



Protein (g)



Protein (g)



Fat (g)


Fat (g)



Nutrient Listing
Pre-packaged foods must
list the energy, carbohydrate,
protein and fat content.
Vitamins and minerals may
also be listed

The Amount of

The amount of nutrients per


Refers to nutrients
contained in every 100g (if
solid) or every 100 ml (if
liquid) of a food or drink.

This is the amount of nutrients and

energy you receive in each serving. If
you consume 2 servings, the energy and
nutrients will be doubled.

| 18 |

Nutrient Content Claims

Certain food products contain claims that highlight
the level of nutrients (e.g. energy, fat, sugar) in
a food product. A food product labeled as low
fat has a level of fat recognised by the health
authorities as low. However, it should be noted
that it does not mean that it is low in calories.
Similarly, a product that claims to be cholesterol
free has a negligible amount of cholesterol. It
may, however, still be high in fat. A product with
a claim of high in vitamin C may also be high in
sugar content.

Multi Grain Cereal

Energy Icon
Energy icon on the
front of the pack
indicates the amount
of energy (in calories)
found in one serving
of the food product
and the percentage
of energy it provides
based on a persons
average daily energy
requirement (2000

It is therefore important to understand what these

claims mean and make appropriate use of them.
Claims such as those above do not necessarily
mean that the products are the healthiest choices.
Hence, dont make your decision based on the
nutrition claims alone. Instead, consider the
energy and other nutrients listed in the NIP before
purchasing the food item.

Ingredient List
The ingredients in a pre-packaged food are always listed in descending order,
with the ingredient with the highest amount to the ingredient with the least
quantity. Thus, when making food choices, use this list to understand what
are the main ingredients contained in the product. When sugar or fat are listed
high in the listing of a food, it is likely that it contains high amounts of these
In some products, the words sugar and fat may not be listed as such in the
ingredient listing. Sometimes it may seem that sugars and fats are not in
the ingredients list. Here are some alternate names you can watch out for to
identify sugars and fats in the food product:
c Sugar honey, raw sugar, confectioners sugar, brown sugar, corn
sweetener, corn syrup, molasses, malt extract, fruit juice concentrate,
fructose, dextrose, maltose and sucrose.
c Fat cocoa butter, coconut, coconut oil, coconut cream, egg solids and egg
yolk solids, hydrogenated vegetable fat or oil, lard, palm oil and palm kernel
oil, vegetable oil, vegetable shortening and animal shortening, animal fat,
non-milk fat, and whole milk solids.

Comparing the example of Brand A to Brand B:


Brand A

Brand B




Sugar and Fat







If you are looking for a product with lower sugar,

fat and calorie, choose Brand B.

IMPORTANT! Tips when comparing different

brands of similar products:
c Serving sizes cannot be used for comparison
because they may differ from one brand to another.
Always compare different brands of a similar product
based on per 100g or per 100ml.
c Dont make the decision to purchase a particular
brand based on one nutrient alone. Consider the
other nutrients listed in the NIP and other nutrient
information available on the packaging.
| 19 |

Healthy Eating

Eating Right
You Are!

Given the variety of cuisines available in

Malaysia, we are often spoiled for choice
when it comes to food. However, when
it comes to maintaining a healthy weight
and eating plan, the principles of balance,
moderation and variety should follow you
wherever you go whether you are at home,
in school, at a fancy restaurant or a buffet.
Below are some tips to help you practise
healthy eating habits anytime, anywhere to
maintain healthy body weight and keep waist

General tips
U Choose foods that are prepared with less oil/
santan, salt and sugar

U Go for more wholegrain foods e.g. brown rice,

wholemeal bread or cereals

U Choose foods that are cooked using healthy

cooking methods such as stewing, grilling,
roasting, braising, steaming, or stir-frying

U Select eateries or restaurants that offer healthier

food choices and has a clean environment
U Eat together with the family to inculcate healthy
eating habits in kids

U Choose appropriate portion sizes

U Avoid eating while watching TV as it may lead to


U Ask for more vegetables and fruits



At Restaurants

U Always go for fresh

fruits, salad, nuts and

U Always go for plain

water to quench your

U Have a healthy snack

prepared to avoid eating
energy-dense and low
nutrient foods

U Reduce intake of
beverages and
alcoholic beverages

U If the portion size is too big,

dont force yourself to finish the
meal if you are full. Share it with
friends or family members or
pack up the leftovers to eat later

U Choose low fat salad

dressing or replace with
vinegar, or lime juice

U Choose 100% fresh

fruit juices instead of
carbonated drinks or

U Reduce sweet and

savory desserts like,
kuih koci, keledek
goreng, sagu, ais
kacang, cendol, bubur
cha-cha and ladoo

U Choose low fat milk

instead of sweetened
condensed milk or full
cream milk for coffee
or tea
U Carry a water bottle
everywhere to keep
you hydrated
| 20 |

U Ask for gravy and sauces to be

served separately
U At buffets, only take a little of
food from each food group to
explore a variety of food without
over-indulging. Remember the
balance and moderation concept
U Choose a fruity or vegetable
gravy/sauce instead of a sweet
and creamy gravy/sauce
U Go for healthier alternatives
such as:

Type of

Local food


to Choose

to Choose

Paprik, nasi
Asam laksa

Paprik, nasi
fried goreng
Mee, curry

Fish, dipanggang

Fish, digoreng

Nasi putih dengan lauk & sayur

Nasi putih with lauk & sayur
Putu mayam dengan sedikit kelapa parut
Puttu mayam with less grated coconut
Ayam, tandoori / dipanggang
Chicken, tandoori / grilled
Nasi ayam dengan ayam kukus
Chicken rice with steam chicken
Kuey teow, sup
Kuey teow, soup
Wantan, sup
Wantan, soup
Yong tau fu, dikukus
Yong tau fu, steamed
Popia, basah
Popiah, fresh
Ikan panggang dengan kentang bakar
Grilled fish
lemak yang

Nasi briyani (dimasak dengan minyak sapi)

Nasi briyani (cooked with ghee)
Ayam, digoreng
Chicken, fried
Nasi ayam dengan ayam goreng
Chicken rice with fried chicken
Kuey teow, digoreng
Kuey teow, fried
Wantan, digoreng
Wantan, fried
Yong tau fu, digoreng
Yong tau fu, fried
Popia, digoreng
Popiah, fried
Ikan dengan kentang goreng
Fish and
chips lembu dengan kentang goreng

red merah
kacang dhal
Tosai with dhal gravy

Kuih seri
seri muka
kacang dhal
Roti canai dengan
with dhalkuah

dan kentang
Grilled lean beef
burger with
baked potato

Beef burger with French fries

Spaghetti marinara (berasaskan

(tomato based

(cream based

Calorie Content of Common Foods to Watch Out for!

Types of Food

Portion Size

Calorie (kcal)

1 set


1 plate


1 set


Chicken rice (Rice, chicken, salad)

1 plate


Mee rebus

Main Meals
Western fast food set (2 pieces fried chicken, 1 bun, 1 mashed potato,
2 potato wedges, 1 carbonated drink)
Fried mamak mee
Briyani rice with chicken curry and dhal gravy

1 bowl


Nasi lemak (with dried chilli paste, egg (boiled), fried anchovies and
fried groundnuts)

1 set


Beef burger with fries and carbonated drink

1 set


1 piece


Cheese cake
Idli with dhal gravy and coconut chutney
Curry puff

1 set


1 piece


1 cup (Grande)


1 cup (large)


1 glass


Mocha Frapucchino
Bubble milk tea with pearls
Teh tarik/kopi tarik

Note: The recommended calorie intake of a healthy person is 2000 kcal per day, and should be spread out through
out your daily meals which include breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. If the calorie content of one serving of a
particular food is more than what is recommended for each meal (>600 kcal for each of the 3 main meals and >150
for snacks), then it is considered a high-calorie meal.
| 21 |

Healthy Eating

Cook Up 1

Prepare healthy meals using the

methods below:
c Steaming keeps nutrients and
flavours in
c Stir frying cooks small pieces of
food quickly using minimal oil in
non-stick pan

c Grilling and roasting in high heat

allows fat to drip away from meats
c Baking/Microwaving helps to keep
flavours and aromas in while using
minimal oil

Eating out too often can be unhealthy, as

food sold in hawker stalls and restaurants
tend to be high in fat, oil, salt and sugar.
Therefore, you are encouraged to cook and
eat at home with your family, as this enables
you to use healthier ingredients and cooking
methods. Below are some tips to help you
prepare healthier meals.

c Braising is an ideal way to soften

tough meats without oil
c Stewing is an easy and fast way to
cook different types of foods using
a slow cooker

Exchange with healthier ingredients

c Use low fat milk instead of santan
c Substitute mayonnaise with yoghurt or low fat salad
dressing, low fat mayonnaise
c Choose wholegrain bread instead of white bread
c Eat brown rice instead of white rice
c Use herbs and spices instead of sauces or salt

c Use fresh or dried fruits instead of sugar

Tips for healthier meal preparations

c Remove visible fats and skins from meats
c Remove the prawns head as it is high in cholesterol
c Wash vegetables and fruits before you cut
c Use vegetables of different colours in your meals for more
variety and to get more phytonutrients.
c Cook fish, chicken and meat thoroughly to kill
If you dont usually cook and need something simple to whip
up healthy meals for your family, here are two all-in-one
recipes for you to try:

| 22 |

Tomato Meat Rice

(Serves 4)

183 g (1 cup) uncooked rice
50 g (2 whole) tomatoes, diced
200 g ( cup) lean beef, thinly sliced
30 ml (2 tbsp) tomato puree
250 ml (1 cup) tomato sauce
30 g ( medium-sized) green capsicum, sliced
250 ml (1 cup) water
30 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil
10 g (2 cloves) garlic, pounded
10 g ( cm) ginger, crushed
10 g (1) shallot, sliced
Salt, sugar and pepper to taste


Portuguese Stea med F ish

(Serves 5)

600 g (5 whole) kembong fish, gutted and cleaned
60 g (5) ladys fingers, sliced thinly
4 pieces aluminum foil sized 20 cm x 20 cm
1 piece banana leaf
18 g () lime, juice squeezed
30 g (4) red chilies
Diet Tips
80 g (8) shallots
20 g (4 cloves) garlic
It is recommended to
60 g (2) lemon grass
consume 1 serving of fish
5 g (1 tsp) belacan
every day. Choose fatty
10 g (1 tbsp) chili powder
fish such as sardines, sea
perch (siakap), hairtail
45 g (4) candlenut (buah keras)
scad (cencaru), black
2 pieces kaffir lime leaves
promfret (bawal hitam)
250 ml (1 cup) water
and mackerel (tenggiri)
45 ml (3 tbsp) oil
because it contains
Salt and brown sugar to taste
unsaturated fatty acids
(Omega-3 fatty acids).

1. In an electric rice cooker, cook rice with tomato

puree, cup of tomato sauce and water.
2. In a separate pan, saut garlic, ginger and
shallots. Add in chopped tomatoes and remaining
tomato sauce.
3. Add beef slices into the pan and cook until meat
is tender. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add extra
water, if needed.
4. Remove from flame and set aside.
5. Scoop cooked rice into small round jelly moulds.
Make a hole in the center of rice and scoop in the
stir-fried beef.
6. Turn out the tomato rice with beef onto a plate and
1 Beef can also be replaced with chicken.
Nutrient Content Per Serving
Calorie 389 kcal

Carbohydrate 49.9 g

Protein 14.9 g

Fat 14.4 g

1. Grill the banana leaf lightly over low heat until slightly soft.
Cut the banana leaves into smaller pieces sufficient to
wrap one fish individually. Set aside.
2. Heat the oil and saut the blended ingredients with
candlenut over medium heat until fragrant and slightly
crispy. Add in the lime juice, kaffir lime leaves, sugar and
salt to taste. Stir fry until well mixed. Add in some water if
3. Simmer for 1 minute and cook until the sambal is thick. Add
in the ladys fingers. Turn off the heat.
4. Put 1 piece of banana leaf on the aluminum foil, enough to
line 2-3 fishes.
5. Coat the fish well with all the cooked sambal (gravy) and
wrap the fish neatly with the aluminum oil so that there will
be no air coming out while cooking. Repeat the step with
other fishes.
6. Put the wrapped fish on a flat frying pan and cook en
papillote for 10 minutes.
7. Serve with warm rice.

Nutrient Content Per Serving

Calorie 158 kcal

Carbohydrate 0.6 g

Protein 17.9 g

Fat 9.3 g

These recipes were obtained from Nutritionists Choice Cookbook vol. 1&2.
For more information about the cookbook, please visit

| 23 |

Move More

Get Up, Be Fit

for Your Health!
In order to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, you need to balance your food intake with regular
physical activity. The more calories you consume, the more physical activity you must do in order to burn
these calories. Therefore, apart from helping with weight control, being physically active can bring greater
benefits to your body!
Reduces risk of hypertension
and stroke

Stronger heart reduces heart disease

Aerobic type of activities help to strengthen the
heart muscle as it needs to pump more blood
to the body. Regular exercise also helps in
increasing good HDL cholesterol, thus reducing
the risk of heart disease.

Moderate impact exercise (e.g.

walking, swimming), helps in
controlling blood pressure, thus
reducing the risk of hypertension
and stroke.
Improves mood, reduces stress
Physical activity will stimulate
the release of feel-good
hormones called endorphins that
positively impacts your mood
and concurrently reduces stress

Reduces risk of
Helps in increasing
uptake of glucose
from blood to cells and
muscles, which then
stabilize blood glucose
levels, thus reducing the
risk of diabetes.

Stronger body & joints

Physical activity that
involves strength training
increases or maintains your
muscle mass and strength,
thus lowering the risk of
injuries and improving your
day to day tasks.

Stronger bones,
prevent osteoporosis
Regular weight-bearing
exercises increase bone
mass and density, thus
reducing the risk of
osteoporosis. Weight
bearing exercises have
an impact on bone and
muscle pull which helps
the bones build more
cells and make them

Stronger muscles and joints

also helps prevent falls and

Improves digestive health

Aerobic exercises accelerate
your breathing and heart rate
that helps to stimulate the natural
contraction of intestinal muscles
and helps move stools out

| 24 |

to Get You Active

Being physically active is beneficial for people of all ages. Not having enough time should not be an excuse
anymore. Even 10 minutes of exercise a day counts. So make physical activity a part of your daily life. Use the
physical activity pyramid below as a guide to help you get started.

Recommended Physical Activities for General Populations

| 25 |

Move More

Use the Physical

Activity Pyramid

Energy Expenditure based on physical activity

It is important to know the types of physical activity and the amount of energy used for each activity. Calories
burnt during any physical activity are influenced by your body weight as well as workout intensity. A heavier
person will use more calories compared to a lighter person. The more vigorous the physical activity you engage
in, the more calories you will burn.

Do it everyday! Anytime, anywhere


burnt per hour

At office/malls:
walk up stairs instead of using elevators


At home:
Playing with children


Cleaning, dusting the house, sweeping the floor




Any kind of activities burn
more calories than just
sitting down! Imagine if you
accumulate these activities
for an hour! Incorporate more
physical activity as exercise
in life.

Engage 5-6 times a week: Cardiorespiratory exercises

(strengthening the heart and lungs)


Calories (kcal) burnt

per hour

Moderate intensity
i. Play badminton
ii. Brisk walking
iii. Aerobic exercise
iv. Activities in gymnasium


Vigorous intensity
i. Fast walk
ii. Cycling
iii. Football
iv. Tennis
v. Basketball


1. When fitness improves, try
to increase the intensity level
and amount of time spent on
physical activity
2. Aim for 30 minutes a day

Engage 2-3 times a week: Flexibility, Strength and

Endurance activities


Calories (kcal) burnt

per hour

Flexibility activities
i. Yoga
ii. Tai chi


Resistance and strength exercise

i. Push ups
ii. Weight lifting (dumb bells)
iii. Boxing, punching bag


Endurance activities
i. Running
ii. Marathon
iii. Distance bicycling

372 472
| 26 |

4 repetitions for each muscle
8-12 sets of repetition for each
major muscle groups

Spread out across the week to

avoid excessive fatigue and risk
of injury

Limit: physical inactivity and sedentary habits


Calories (kcal)
burnt per hour

i. Sitting with light

office work

1. Limit to 2 hours or less a day

2. Attempt to perform some simple activities
such as stretching (e.g. sit ups) during
intervals of watching TV or working at
the computer

ii. Surf internet

iii. Sitting around

Note: The calories burnt

are estimated based on
activities of a 58.5 kg
person in 1 hour


*Moderate phys
ical activity: wh
ile performing
physical activity,
the breathing an
heart rate
is noticeably faste
r but you can still
carry on a
*Vigorous phys
ical activity: He
art rate is
increased substa
ntially and you ar
e breathing too
hard and too fast
to have a conver

Start today!
You can start being physically active by walking as much as
you can. If you would like to monitor the number of steps you
do each day, use a pedometer (step counter). By using the
pedometer, you can determine which activity level you are in
by referring to the table below:

Number of steps
per day

Activity Level

< 5,000


5,000 7,499

Low Active

7,500 9,999

Somewhat Active

10,000 12,500


You should aim to achieve at least 10,000 steps everyday. If you do not have a
pedometer, it is approximately an extra 1 hour brisk walking in addition to daily
Apart from walking more steps every day, upgrade your physical activity level
to ensure that you are doing enough for optimum health. The guide below can
help give you a good start:

If You Rarely Do Physical Activity

If You Do Physical Activity


Begin with activities at the base of the


Be more consistent with activities in

the middle of the pyramid

c Walk whenever you can

c Plan physical activity into your

daily schedule

c Make physical activity a part of your

leisure time
c Set realistic goals, and work your
way up toward the middle of the

If You Do Physical
Activity Often
Choose a mix of aerobic,
flexibility, and strengthening

c Set weekly and monthly goals

c Mix up your routine to keep

it fun

c Partner with a friend or family

member to do physical activity

c Challenge yourself with

new goals

| 27 |

c Try new physical activities

Weight Monitoring

Your Weight

The simplest method to know if you are at a healthy weight
is by assessing your body mass index (BMI) and your waist
circumference. This can be done at home and is essential
for both children and adults to monitor their risk of obesity.
The BMI must be monitored once every month for people
with weight problems and once every three months for
normal weight person.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Why is it important? It is used to check if your current weight is proportionate with your height. In order to
measure your BMI, you will need:
c A weighing scale


c A height measurement scale

Example: Weight 56kg, Height 1.64 m


Weight (kg)

Height (m) X Height (m)


1.64 x 1.64

= 20.82

So, BMI = 20.82

Interpretation Adults:

This BMI value

referts to the
classification of
baby weight status
by World Health
Organization (WHO)
BMI values





r< 18.5

< 18.5 24.9



| 28 |


Interpretation Children:

*While BMI is calculated using

the same method for children and
adults, the criteria used to interpret
the BMI values for children are
different as it takes into account
their growth and development.

Normal BMI Range




13.8 17.3

13.8 17.1

13.4 16.9

13.1 16.8

13.1 16.7

12.8 16.8

12.9 16.6

12.7 16.9

13.0 16.8

12.7 17.0

13.1 17.0

12.7 17.3

13.3 17.4

12.9 17.7

13.5 17.9

13.1 18.3


13.7 18.5

13.5 19.0


14.1 19.2

13.9 19.9


14.5 19.9

14.4 20.8


14.9 20.8

14.9 21.8


15.5 21.8

15.4 22.7


16.0 22.7

15.9 23.5


16.5 23.5

16.2 24.1


16.9 24.3

16.4 24.5


17.3 24.9

16.4 24.8

Source: WHO, BMI-for-Age (z-scores) 5 to 19 years old, 2007; BMIfor-Age (z-scores) 2 to 5 years old, 2006.

Waist Circumference
(Only applicable for adults)
Body fat located at the abdominal region is a good
indicator of the risk of obesity-related diseases. In
general, there are two types of obesity Android
and Gynoid:
c Android obesity/central obesity (Apple-like
body shape)

 xcess fat accumulates around

abdominal region

 igher risk of having illness related
to obesity, eg heart disease,
diabetes, high blood pressure, and

c Gynoid obesity (Pear-like body shape)

Excess fat accumulates around hip

and thigh areas

| 29 |

Weight Monitoring

To check your waist

circumference, all you need is a
measuring tape.
How to measure?
1. Place a measuring tape
directly on the skin or no more
than one layer of light clothing
2. The tape should be placed
halfway between the lowest rib
and the top of hip bone; this
is roughly in line with the belly
button, also known as the
3. Breathe normally and take the
4. Make sure the tape is snug but
without compressing the skin

Female < 80cm

Male < 90cm

If the waist circumference is more than the normal values indicated above, it can be classified as
central obesity. This condition increases the risk to diet-related chronic diseases

What do you do with your BMI results?


If you are within the normal range,

However, dont take it for granted.
Continue working towards preventing
obesity by practicing a healthy
If your BMI is in the overweight or
obese ranges, dont be disheartened.
Weight problems ARE reversible
by putting in some effort as an
investment. Consult a dietitian to
personalize a healthy weight loss
plan, find out exercises you can do
to burn those extra calories. Most
importantly, stick to your regime and
dont give up.
If you are
strive towards a
healthy weight
by practicing a
healthy lifestyle
by following
the advice of
a dietitian or

If your child is underweight, aim to ensure
optimal nutrition and gradually get back to
normal growth.
If your child is overweight or obese, consult
a dietitian for professional advice on how to
develop an appropriate weight for loss plan.
As children have high nutrient needs for
optimal growth, it is important not to practice
strict dietary restrictions. Inculcating healthy
eating habits and encouraging physical
activity and lifestyle changes are the preferred
approaches. Parental support and involvement
are crucial for any successful weight
management plan.
If your child is at normal range, keep up the
good work. All you need to do is make sure he
receives optimal nutrition. Check regularly to
ensure that his growth is maintained within the
normal range.

| 30 |

If your childs weight gain fluctuates greatly

between measurements, seek advice from a
dietitian, nutritionist or paediatrician.

Being a
vegetarian does not
necessarily mean that a
person will not become overweight
or obese. Vegetarians consume
grains, legumes, and tubers, which also
contain calories. Indeed, any type of
food, if taken in excess of energy needs,
can cause weight gain. Deep fried
vegetarians dishes also contain to a
substantial amount of calorie.

Can I stay
slim by being a

Is it
true that
women are
bound to put on
some weight
after having

It is not necessarily that a

woman will gain weight after giving
birth. Pregnant mother put on weight
during during pregnancy to cater for the
needs of the foetus. However, after delivery
of the baby, the woman will be able to lose
the extra weight gained if she follows the
right practices. It is vital that she does not
overeat during confinement, breastfeeds
the newborn, adopt healthy eating habits
and an active lifestyle. Over time, she
will be in the healthy weight range.

| 31 |

Soal Jawab
and Answer

Ask the

Is it true that
eating red meat
and rice can cause

It is untrue that eating any

one food will increase risk to
obesity. Therefore, eating red meat
or rice is not going to increase risk to
obesity as long as they are consumed in
moderation. Achieve a balance on energy
intake and calorie expenditure is the key
in preventing obesity. Therefore, one
should consume a variety of foods,
but in moderate amounts that are
appropriate for his body weight,
age, and physical activity

Fast food
and sweetened
beverages are
always on demand
in my household.
What can I do?
These foods are high in
calories. Try to introduce healthy
snacks to your family members and
children and turn it into a habit. Slowly
reduce, and eliminate, all fast food, snacks
and sweetened beverages from your
shopping list. Most importantly, be a role
model for your children and guide
them to practise healthy eating habits.
Avoid rewarding your child with food
and do other interesting activities
together instead.

Is weight loss
safe for my

Young children under

the age of 7 years who are
overweight or obese with no other
health concerns, should maintain weight
or gain weight slowly rather than lose weight.
Overweight older children (> 7 years old) can
benefit from weight loss, but this should be a slow
and steady process. For instance, losing between
0.5 kg a week and 2 kg a month is reasonable,
depending on the childs ability and environmental
support. Inculcate healthy eating habits and
encourage physical activity and lifestyle changes
instead of restricting his diet. Parents should
support and work together with the child in
any weight loss programme and help
monitor his progress.

| 32 |


Lose Weight Safely

Healthy Diet to Lose
Be Physically Active
Questions and Answer:
Weight Loss Guide

| 33 |

Weight Loss


Being overweight and obese adversely affects your overall

health and life as well as the lives of your loved ones. Losing
the extra weight brings about a whole host of benefits. It
keeps you in shape, makes you feel good and confident
about yourself. More importantly, losing weight decreases
your risk of developing non-communicable diseases such as
diabetes and hypertension. So lets take that important step
towards a healthier and better life today. Its easy and well
show you how.

Major Keys to lose weight

Before you embark on any weight loss
programme, you need to first be mentally
prepared to modify your behaviour. The
two major behavioural routines you need to
start with are adopting a healthy eating habit
which involves controlling your calorie intake
and adopting a more active lifestyle:


Control your food intake by

consuming calories according
to your needs and the
recommended portion sizes


Engage in physical activity by

starting with small steps but
regularly and continuously

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Set Your Goals and achieve them

Below are some goals you can set for yourself to help you start off on your weight loss programme.
Make them achievable and dont overextend or youll get tired, bored and ultimately lose interest.

Right goals

c Aim for weight loss goal of 5-10% of your total body weight in 6 months, or 0.5 to
1 kg per week.
c Aim for slow and steady weight loss for long lasting effects and better health.
c Aim for calorie reduction of 500 kcal/day; reduce 250kcal from your food intake
and 250kcal through physical activity.

Right Diet

c Aim for foods which are low in calories, sugar, fat, and salt. Aim for high fibre
foods such as fruits and vegetables, legumes and brown rice and wholemeal
bread instead.


c Increase daily exercise gradually to 60-90 minutes per day.


c Maintain your weight by weighing yourself at least once a week

c Aim to move everyday through daily activities such as walking briskly 30 mins a
day, do housework for 30 minutes and climb up and down stairs

c Once you are successful, aim to lose more by keeping your regular eating habit
and lifestyle
c Ask a friend or family members to join you through your weight loss programmes.

Get support

c For more effective weight loss, consult a dietician or nutritionist for a weight loss
programme tailor-made specifically for you.

If you find your weight loss insignificant or negligible at best even after taking the aforementioned steps, then
preventing further weight gain becomes the goal.

Breaking BAD habits today


Watch for your old bad habits that could be contributing your weight plan.
Skipping breakfast This is a bad habit because breakfast is the most important meal of
the day that helps you stay energized at the beginning of the day and it prevents you from
overeating later.
Snacking unnecessarily Make sure you have regular meal times to avoid
unnecessary eating in between meals. If you need to snack, choose only healthier
snack options.
Unmindful eating / emotional binge eating When feeling sad, do other
activities instead of eating. Many overweight people dont realise they have
been using food as their own personal therapist which lead to overeating.
Rewarding with food How about another option as a reward? For
instance, take up a productive hobby you can indulge in, such as exercise
with family members or go on a vacation.
Being a couch potato Be disciplined and allocate adequate time for your
favourite TV programmes, games and gadgets. You can do some movements
while watching TV such as sit up or push up.
Eating supper Supper has been so popular especially with the abundance of 24
hour restaurants. Consider sticking to a comprehensive eating schedule and avoid supper
as that is the time your body is getting ready to rest.

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Weight Loss

Healthy Diet
to lose weight
A fundamental requirement to achieve
weight loss is to control calorie intake.
But this doesnt mean you should be
severely restricting all food intakes and
go on a very low calorie diet. Your body
still needs energy and nutrients to be able
to perform all its functions normally. A
balanced and healthy diet is therefore still
essential. This also helps facilitate a more
consistent weight loss and the effects are
usually long-term.

Safe Weight Loss through Healthy Eating

Some tips on eating healthily while losing weight:


Practice a balanced and moderate diet in
accordance with the guidelines advocated by
the Malaysian Food Pyramid, and incorporate
the principles of B-M-V Balanced,
Moderation and Variety. (Refer to page 11)

Manage your meal portions and plan serving
sizes appropriate to your needs. (Refer to page
14 under Keep Portions in Moderation on the
serving size of each food group).


Plan your daily menu based
on 1500 kcal diet to help
you monitor your meal and
write down what you eat on
that day.

Go for healthier food
options and use healthier
ingredients while cooking
(Refer to page 23 for
healthier food alternatives).

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Emphasise on reducing
consumption of unnecessary
calories for example sugary
beverages. There are many
types of food which is high
in calorie but low in nutrient
content. Choose wisely.

Sample Menu Planner

The menu plan provided here (based on 1500 kcal/day) will help you plan your daily calorie intake
and avoid overeating.


Morning Snack

2 pieces of wholemeal bread


1 slice papaya

1 cup brown rice
1 medium sized fishin singgang soup

cup baked beans

cup stir fried spinach

1 cup lettuce and tomato

1 banana

cup coffee with 2 tbsp low fat powder milk

Plain water

Avoid adding oil/fat

when cooking. Other low
fat cooking examples
- masak Asam,
ikanbakar, ikan stim
Always reduce the
amount of margarine
or butter. Limit to only
1 tsp

Evening snack


6 pieces wholemeal crackers

1 cup brown rice

cup coffee with 2 tbsp low fat

powder milk

1 piece of palm sized beef

cup mixed vegetable
Plain water

Avoid using non-dairy

creamer as that is the
culprit in adding fat into
your meal

Try brown rice.

It makes you fuller

Note: Besides eating right, do not forget to drink 8 glasses of water everyday
Total number of servings per day (according to approximately 1500 kcal)
Group 1

Cereals & cereal products

4 servings

Group 2


3 servings

Group 3


2 servings

Group 4

Meat, poultry, fish and legumes

Group 5

Meat / Poultry


1 serving


Milk and Dairy products

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1 serving

Weight Loss

Be Physically
In addition to a good dietary plan, a good physical workout plan is
needed to achieve the intended weight loss. You can try and follow
the Physical Activity Pyramid for suggestions on what type of
physical activities you can do to keep those extra pounds at bay.
The more intense the physical activity, the more calories you burn.
Losing weight through physical activity doesnt just cut off unwanted
fat, it also helps to strengthen body posture and maintain overall

Physical activities to keep your

weight balanced
Use the FITT principles to plan your activity and

c Frequency:

How many times per week?

c Intensity:

How intense is your physical activity

(often quantified using heart rate)?

c Time:

How long you perform the


c Type:

The table below can help you plan

your physical activity everyday in your
weight loss programme:

What kind of activity is performed?

To lose weight

Prevent transition
from overweight to

Prevent transition from overweight

to obesity




Less than Everyday

Moderate intensity

Moderate intensity

Moderate intensity

Vigorous intensity

>30 mins

45-60 mins

60-90 mins

Less than 60-90


Aerobic exercise

Brisk walking

Skipping rope
Playing tennis

Pushing a child in a stroller

Washing a car

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Swimming laps
Jumping rope
Heavy gardening
(continuous digging
or hoeing)

Alternatively, you can choose other forms of activities that you

feel comfortable with and enjoy doing. You can participate more
in household chores or activities such as mowing the lawn or
gardening. Even a mundane task like hosing the plants can
become a less-intensive form of physical activity routine.
Make sure to also participate in activities that increase your
flexibility, strength and endurance. A simple set of physical activity
2-3 times a week in addition to the above activities should help
you get in shape. Persistence will surely pay off resulting in a
healthier more active you.
Individuals who are either overweight or obese should initiate physical activity slowly and
gradually increase intensity over time.

Start with a 10
minute walk
three times a

Tips to do so:

Increase it to
30-45 minutes
of brisk walking
three times a

Increase frequency to
five times a week and try
other forms of moderate
intensity activities
i.e. jogging.

Keep on gradually
increasing your
exercise duration
and intensity.

You may also opt to do so in several short periods such as 10 minutes three times a day instead of
one single 30 minute session.

Safety Rules
Get advice from healthcare professionals before you
start any exercise programme and get a physical/
medical check-up to see if you have any illnesses or
complications that might worsen if you do a certain
form of exercise.
Start at a level you feel comfortable with. Over
time your body will adjust to the frequency of your
activities and increase your overall fitness. Gradually
increase the level of intensity of your physical
activity. Basically there are 3 phases of physical
intensity, namely:

c Beginning phase The body adjusts to the new

type and level of activity.

c Progress phase Fitness increases.

c Maintenance phase The targeted level of
tness is sustained over the long term.

Intensifying your activities abruptly may result in

muscle soreness, fatigue, increased cardiac risk and
decreased motivation.

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Weight Loss

Questions and


Ive substituted my
unhealthy snacks
with fruits to lose
weight as advised. Why
doesnt my weight go
Substituting unhealthy
snacks with fruits is a
good practice and not just
for losing weight. Fruits
also contain various
phytonutrients that are
known to exert beneficial
health effects. To reduce
more weight, you might
need to consider reducing
calories from other food
taken throughout the
day. Just taking away the
snack is not the solution.
Also remember that
physical activity must
be increased so as to
burn away the excess fat
stored in the body.

Ive reduced
my calorie
intake by
cutting my portion
sizes and I exercise
regularly every day.
I managed to lose
a few kilos, but
after 3 months, I
didnt lose any more
weight despite going
through the same
routine and diet.
Why isnt it working

| 40 |

Dont get too discouraged, its

normal for weight loss to slow or
even stop. Its called the weight
loss plateau that occurs because
your bodys metabolism slows as
you lose muscle. During this time,
the calories you eat are now equal to
the amount of calories you use.
If youre still committed to losing
more weight, try these safer
healthier options:
c Cut more calories. Reduce your daily calorie
intake by 200 kcal make sure it doesnt go
below 1,200 kcal. If it does, it may not be enough
to keep you from feeling hungry; this increases
your risk of overeating.
c Increase your workout. Increase duration and
intensity of workouts. Another option is to do
exercise focusing on increasing muscle mass
which are quite intense and burn calories even
after working out.
c Pack more activity into your day. Increase
general physical activity throughout the day by
walking more and using your car less, or try doing
more chores around the house to keep yourself

With so many
different types
of fast-acting
diet plans these
days which one
should I choose?
How about weight
loss products, are
those safe?

Any diet that promises fast weight loss without a scientific basis is called a fad
diet. These diets often eliminate entire food groups and as a result dont provide
the wide range of important nutrients that our body needs. Results are usually
short-lived and are difficult to sustain since most of the weight loss involves
primarily water. Nutrient deficiency is also not uncommon in persons using fad
There are numerous weight loss products in the market. Many new products
are put on the market, ranging from various pills, supplement drinks to herbal
products. Do your homework and consult the proper authorities to determine if
these products are indeed effective and safe for use before you decide to buy.

In certain situations, special drugs may be prescribed to patients who have difficulty losing weight. These
drugs help compliment the whole weight loss programme and are not an end-all-be-all solution in itself.
Prescribed drugs may include:
c Appetite suppressant They work by blocking the re-uptake of the chemicals in the brain which
creates that feeling of satiety you get after eating a big meal.
c Prescription fat blockers Inhibits the enzyme lipase in the digestive system which prevents fat from
being broken down and absorbed but instead exits the body through bowel movement.
Always remember that no drug nor pill or supplement can substitute a good holistic diet coupled with
regular daily exercise.

I am obese and suffer both diabetes and arthritis, so I find it very difficult to move around.
However, Ive tried losing weight through practicing a healthy diet and I exercise frequently but
it doesnt seem to work. I hear surgery is also a good option to consider, is this true?

Yes, there is a surgical procedure called Bariatric

Surgery which is used to treat severely obese
people. The surgery involves
c reducing the size of the stomach with a gastric
c removal of a portion of the stomach (sleeve
gastrectomy or biliopancreatic diversion with
duodenal switch)
c resecting and re-routing the small intestines to a
small stomach pouch (gastric bypass surgery).
Before Surgery

Stomach (bypassed)




Duodenum (bypassed)

1 Body mass index (BMI) greater than 40.

2 BMI greater than 35 and you have obesity-related
health problems that may improve with weight
loss, such as obstructive sleep apnoea, severe
arthritis, and diabetes.
3 Conventional diet and exercise have no effect
towards your weight.
4 Committed to permanent lifestyle changes after

After Surgery

If you fit these criteria below then surgery may be an

option for you:

5 Has gone through counselling session and

understands the risks and benefits of weight loss
Only certified medical practitioners can prescribe
this method and even then, it is considered to be
a last resort as there are risks and side effects
associated with this type of surgery. Weigh your
options carefully and ask people whove been
through the same experience for added perspective.
Although the surgery might give good results to you,
you still need to practise healthy eating habits and
active lifestyle to maintain your weight.

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Nutrition Society of Malaysia

Malaysian Dietitians Association

Malaysian Association for the

Study of Obesity

Nutrition Month Malaysia (NMM) is

a community nutrition educational
programme that is celebrated yearly
in April. This programme is initiated
by three leading professional bodies,
namely the Nutrition Society of Malaysia
(NSM), the Malaysia Dietitian Association
(MDA) and the Malaysian Association for
the Study of Obesity (MASO).

For enquiry, please contact:

Since its launch in 2002, NMM aims to

increase communitys awareness of
healthy eating and physical activity.
Some NMM activities include family
carnival, roadshows in schools,
guidebooks and cookbooks for adults,
comic books for kids and educational
press articles.

The Nutrition Month Malaysia Secretariat

Tel: (03) 5632 3301

(03) 5637 3526

Visit our programme website to obtain

more information on nutrition and other
educational materials published by the
Nutrition Month Malaysia programme.

Email :
Website :
Facebook : Nutrition Month Malaysia