In five years’ time (2025), the number of Malaysians having diabetes is expected to nearly double from the current 3.9 million to seven million, according to the Health Ministry.
If left unattended, diabetes can be a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and lower limb amputation.
In addition, statistics have shown that Covid-19 affects people with concomitant chronic conditions like diabetes more seriously than those without.
Universiti Putra Malaysia Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Academic (Health Sciences) deputy dean and dietitian Associate Professor Dr Barakatun Nisak Mohd Yusof says that: “Type 2 diabetes is preventable with simple lifestyle changes, but it takes action.”
She believes that given the current Covid-19 pandemic, diabetics must be more conscious of their lifestyle habits and patterns.
“We can’t hold the pandemic responsible for our improper eating habits and reduced physical activity.
“People with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing acute complications from hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar), hyperglycaemia (high blood sugar) and dehydration.
“We must be innovative in finding ways to exercise, and importantly, eating a healthy and balanced diet.”
Assoc Prof Nisak will be speaking at a live webinar organised by The Star and Nestle Health Science Malaysia’s Nutren Untuk Diabetik brand on Nov 22 in conjunction with World Diabetes Day.
Her presentation will provide insight on how diabetics can optimise their blood sugar control through the right food choices, as well as practise healthy weight management during the conditional MCO and beyond.
She will be joined by celebrity chef Zamzani Abdul Wahab, popularly known as Chef Zam, who will be demonstrating some healthy and tasty recipes live from his own kitchen.
He says: “Despite the pandemic, there are many ways to easily create low glycaemic index (GI) meals to manage our blood sugar levels.
“I can’t wait to get virtual and show how easy it is to whip up some delicious, nutritious recipes for our loved ones.
“It’s easy! Don’t worry, we do it together lah.”
His recipes will incorporate the Nutren Untuk Diabetik supplement, which is a low GI nutritional powdered beverage targeted at those with impaired glucose tolerance and diabetes.
Nestle Health Science Malaysia medical affairs executive and dietician Rachel Liu notes that: “The routine daily care for people living with diabetes has been disrupted due to travel restrictions and quarantine.
“Stress levels, coupled with poor eating habits and the lack of physical activity, all add up to loved ones struggling to comply with their diabetes self-management routine.
“This is of great concern when you consider that people living with diabetes are also at a greater risk of complications from Covid-19.”
She adds: “For people living with diabetes, maintaining a balanced blood sugar level through careful nutritional intake is an essential component of diabetes management.
“It’s not just how much you eat, but the type of food you eat.
“Foods with a low GI contain carbohydrates that take the body longer to break down and are less likely to cause a rapid fluctuation in blood sugar levels.”
Liu will also be speaking at the webinar titled World Diabetes Day: Living with Diabetes in a Changing World, which will be livestreamed from 2.30pm to 3.30pm on Nov 22.
The first 500 participants to pre-register and attend the live webinar will receive a goodie bag containing free samples, a branded shaker and a jute bag, courtesy of Nestle Health Sciences Malaysia.
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