Encouraging healthy daily habits

Participants taking part in a Zumba session during the 50KS grand finale at Taman Medan Cahaya in Petaling Jaya.

WEIGHT loss does not come easy, especially for those above 50, which makes Harison Mustafa’s journey even more inspiring.

The 57-year-old weighed 120kg six months ago but is only 86kg now.

“It was very difficult at first because I had to change almost everything that I have been doing my whole life.

“The key was determination and with the right support and knowledge, it eventually became a routine,” said Harison, who was the winner in the highest weight loss category of the 50 Keluarga Sihat (50KS) pilot programme’s grand finale at Taman Medan Cahaya in Petaling Jaya.

“I had to eat oats every morning for breakfast and reduced my food portion greatly for lunch.

“Half of my meal was made up of vegetables, a quarter protein, and a quarter whole grains.

“I had to skip sugary drinks and throughout the day, drank only lemon or lime infused water.


Harison (right) celebrating after receiving a medal from Prof Adeeba during the programme’s grand finale.
Harison (right) celebrating after receiving a medal from Prof Adeeba during the programme’s grand finale.  


“I exercised everyday, from simple things like stretching to walking eight times around the block,” she added.

It is not easy to change one’s lifestyle but the 50KS programme managed to do that with coaching, educational materials, meal demonstrations, weekly physical activities like Zumba, boot camp, supermarket sweep and restorative stretching.

Regular screening and monitoring of their health further spurred participants to successfully complete the programme.

50KS was a community project by #Sihat105, Universiti Malaya Medical Faculty and Taman Medan health clinic with the support of Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah and volunteers under the P105 Dignity for All programme.

The programme was named after the 50 households from Blocks A to C of Taman Medan Cahaya flats who volunteered to take part.

“I wanted to change and saw this as a perfect platform to do so.

“I knew I was obese and had to lose weight but I did not know how,” said Harison.

Maria Chin said the only way to influence another is by encouraging him to think for himself, instead of instilling ready-made solutions into his head.

“That is the vision of the 50KS programme, to empower residents to take ownership of their life,” she added.

Participants were guided on how to improve their health and incorporate activities in their daily life.

They also received individualised coaching throughout the six-month programme.

They were taught aspects of maintaining a healthy lifestyle including diet, physical activity, stress management and mental health, cessation of smoking as well as managing diabetes mellitus and hypertension.

Hafsah Hussain won for improvement in blood sugar readings, S. Premawali for diligently attending all clinical appointments and Jamiliah Samsudin for highest participation in sports activities.

“Changing behaviour is very difficult and it’s exciting to see how the participants were motivated to continue to eat healthily and exercise regularly.

“Next is 50 Keluarga Sihat 2.0. as participants are now ready to become mentors to roll out the programme to the next 50 families,” said #Sihat105 chairman and Medical Faculty dean Prof Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman.

“The key to sustainability was to create momentum and we managed to do that,” said 50KS lead coach P. Lina.

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