01 July 2018

The Obesity Evolution: Malaysian Perspectives

Flagship Programme: Battle of the Bulge (Obesity): Environmental and Individual Perspective Studies

Programme Duration: 2017 – 2022 (5 Years)

Budget Allocated: RM 2,259,700.00

“.. The WHO (2015) report revealed that in less than a generation, rates of obesity have risen dramatically worldwide and up in the last decade has been many developing economies like Malaysia rapidly catching up..” quoted Emeritus Professor Dr. Mohamed Ismail Mohamed Noor, the Team Leader for Flagship Programme Battle of the Bulge (Obesity): Environmental and Individual Perspective Studies.

When you think of Malaysia, you think of gloriously delicious, calorie-rich food varieties available in every street. Rendang, Nasi Lemak, Creamy Fish Head Curry, Loh Gah Mai, Satay you name it. Malaysia is a food haven for food lovers. However, lately we are gaining the reputation as the country with the fattest people! A recent World Health Organisation (WHO) report put Malaysia as number 6 in Asia and the prevalence is rising each year.

It is now The Battle of the Bulge with Obesity. Emeritus Professor Dr. Mohamed Ismail Mohamed Noor of Taylor’s University is spearheading the search in understanding how this came to be.  Are Malaysian individually responsible for the increase rate of obesity, or does our glorious food culture (not withstanding physical inactivity) contribute to this obesity predicament? This is where the Flagship Programme may shed some light to our fellow Malaysians. To understand obesity, we must first understand the role that environment and individuals plays. This programme is divided into 5 major projects; eating out phenomenon, developing satiety-enhancing foo products, capturing and understanding eating behaviour using state-of-the-art Experimental Restaurant, use of technology in lifestyle intervention and efficiency of food labelling regulations, facilitating healthy eating and novel therapeutic agents in medical management of obesity. 

Malaysians beware; obesity is growing at an alarming rate. It is not something that we should take lightly. Senior Professors and 40 researchers from four faculties front this Battle of the Bulge. Faculty of Social Sciences and Leisure Managemenent; Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences; and Faculty of Business and Law. Hand in hand, we can work together to ensure that we are no longer number 1 in the Most Obese Southeast Asia Country Chart. For one to change, we first must change our Makan-Makan Lifestyle.

Flagship research program for obesity and health

The conceptual framework is a guiding tool for the researchers to reach their research objectives. Project 1 and 3 is part of Taylor’s University’s Contributin towards accomplishing an on-going LiA-CNRS Associated International Laboratory “Food, Culture and Health” objectives. Besides that, project 5 is being co-sponsored by B-Crobe Laboratory and part of it is being carried out jointly with University of Kent, UK and UNIMAS, Sarawak. 

Researcher attending event
Dr. Elise sharing her research on the conference
Emeritus Professor Dr. Mohamed Ismail Mohamed Noor
Centre for Research and Innovation in Tourism (CRiT)