Live healthier minus the cost? This community programme shows it’s possible

Sihat105 chairman and UM’s faculty of medicine dean Prof Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman (far left) with participants during a Zumba session at the official launch of the 50Keluarga Sihat January 12, 2019. — Pictures by Shafwan Zaidon
Sihat105 chairman and UM’s faculty of medicine dean Prof Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman (far left) with participants during a Zumba session at the official launch of the 50Keluarga Sihat January 12, 2019. — Pictures by Shafwan Zaidon

PETALING JAYA, Jan 12 — Living healthy does not necessarily mean that one has to go to an expensive gym or eat organic food.

Simple changes in one’s daily routine can make a huge difference.

This is what a programme, 50Keluarga Sihat, has been trying to do.

It includes Malaysians who are from the B40 group with a median household income of RM3,000 or below.

The 50 Keluarga Sihat pilot programme is by #Sihat105, a joint effort between Universiti Malaya (UM) medical faculty, volunteers of Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah and Taman Medan health clinic.

The nine-month programme is for 50 families from Block A, B and C of the Taman Medan Cahaya Flats.

The next six months will be personalised coaching.

The initial three months that started in October consisted of educational activities like supermarket sweeps, cooking demonstrations, health talks and physical exercise classes.

Doctors and dentists have also provided them medical screenings and talks on the importance of hygiene.

The programme was officially launched today by Petaling Jaya MP Maria Chin Abdullah.

Also in attendance was Taman Medan state assemblyman Syamsul Firdaus Mohamed Supri.

It included a talk by Universiti Malaya Assoc Prof Dr Mohd Nahar Azmi Mohamed on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.

This was followed by a Zumba session.

Participants at the Zumba session earlier January 12, 2019.
Participants at the Zumba session earlier January 12, 2019.

Selected participants also had a chance to showcase ways how they have started preparing healthier dishes for their family at home.

#Sihat105 chairman and UM’s faculty of medicine dean Prof Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman said there were four topics which have been implemented in stages.

The four are weight loss, eating healthy, exercising and to stop smoking.

Coaching on stress management, sleep and hygiene are also provided.

An earlier survey by UM medical students showed that 60 per cent residents of the Taman Medan people’s housing project were either overweight or obese, 25 per cent have either hypertension or diabetes or both, and 50 per cent of the male participants smoke.

“Very few exercise,” she said.

“When we conducted a survey, we found out that they suffer from obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes, all these conditions can be treated and some of it cured.

“Our programme covers the four topics which can be related to each individual living here,” she said.

She hopes the programme can be the driving force to a healthier life.

“It all started when Maria Chin Abdullah (Petaling Jaya MP) asked us to have a programme here and it really has changed their lives.

“These 50 families can be the driving force towards a healthier lifestyle to other Taman Medan families too.”

#Sihat105 co-chairman April Chang shared a reason why they thought Taman Medan was a perfect spot to conduct a health-related programme.

“While we were conducting our survey, we saw that they wanted to change, they were eager to learn and do anything towards an improved lifestyle.

“As long as you want to change, you can be changed.”

She also shared a few success stories from the 50Keluarga Sihat programme.

“There was this lady who weighed about 100kg and lost five kg. She was really excited about her weight loss.

“Some participants couldn’t even squat or do lunges but they’ve mastered it. Over the months, participants have started to table their own workout and diet plan and that is really what we’ve wanted from the start — to make it a habit.”

Maria hopes the programme will make a change to the lives of participants.
Maria hopes the programme will make a change to the lives of participants.

Maria added that a lot of the residents also lacked medical insurances and faces several health conditions.

“They need to live a healthier lifestyle by eating and exercising regularly to avoid more health problems,” she said.

“Some do not go for their medical checkups and this is what we want to change.”

She added that health has always been one of the biggest issues for the residents – mostly those who fall under the B40 group.

“Some of them are under the B40 and to see how we can help the B40 in terms of health which is connected to poverty too because if you do not have money you cannot go to the hospital.

“It is looking at poverty in a broader sense than just increasing your income.”

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