Ad­vanc­ing nu­tri­tion

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - COURSE FOCUS -

WE eat for many rea­sons – out of hunger or for plea­sure, flavour, com­fort and nu­tri­tion – but have you con­sid­ered the im­pact your eat­ing habits have on your body?

Ac­cord­ing to the head of UCSI Univer­sity’s ( UCSI) nu­tri­tion with wellness pro­gramme, As­soc Prof Dr Yim Hip Seng, the hu­man body is sim­i­lar to a rac­ing car.

“Putting in the wrong fuel or run­ning it with­out main­te­nance will pre­vent it from giv­ing its full per­for­mance. With­out healthy eat­ing, your body will suf­fer just like a car en­gine,” he says.

Find­ings from Bri­tish med­i­cal jour­nal The Lancet showed that Malaysia has one of the highest rates of obe­sity among Asian coun­tries with 45.3% of its pop­u­la­tion be­ing obese. The num­ber of di­a­betes pa­tients jumped to 31% this year from 15.2% in 2011.

On the other end of the spec­trum, eat­ing dis­or­ders such as anorexia and bulimia are on the rise due to the grow­ing in­flu­ence of the me­dia and today’s celebrity- cen­tric cul­ture.

All this leads to the in­creas­ing need for nu­tri­tion­ists who are qual­i­fied to give ad­vice on dis­ease preven­tion and pro­mote holis­tic well- be­ing of in­di­vid­u­als and com­mu­ni­ties.

A nu­tri­tion­ist has var­i­ous roles to play, in­clud­ing be­ing a scientist in the pub­lic health and clin­i­cal set­tings as well as in the fields of sports nu­tri­tion, health pro­mo­tion and ed­u­ca­tion.

To groom qual­i­fied and well- rounded nu­tri­tion­ists, UCSI has launched the BSc ( Hons) Nu­tri­tion with Wellness pro­gramme.

Un­like other pro­grammes on nu­tri­tion, this de­gree has a dual fo­cus on the sci­en­tific un­der­stand­ing of nu­tri­tion and food science as well as fun­da­men­tals of mar­ket­ing and en­trepreneur­ship.

The de­gree is the lat­est in a string of suc­cess­ful pro­grammes from UCSI, which is the first pri­vate univer­sity in Malaysia to of­fer a food science with nu­tri­tion BSc de­gree.

The dual fo­cus of the BSc ( Hons) Nu­tri­tion with Wellness will give stu­dents an added edge in the com­pet­i­tive work­ing world.

“The pro­gramme en­ables grad­u­ates to ven­ture into tra­di­tional nu­tri­tion­ist roles such as health con­sul­tants for dis­ease preven­tion, pub­lic health and ed­u­ca­tion or into the boom­ing wellness busi­ness,” says As­soc Prof Yim.

When it comes to fields re­lated to hu­man health, re­search a and in­no­va­tion is cru­cial to en­sure con­tin­uou us ad­vance­ment for mankind.

In­no­va­tion and d re­search are two things UCSI’s Fac­ulty of Ap­pliedA Sciences ( FAS) is well known for.

To main­tain th he highest level of aca­demic and sci ien­tific stan­dards, the fac­ulty em­pha­sises ev­i­dence- based learn­ing and takes pride in hav­ing state- of- the- art lab­o­ra­to­ries and equip­ment.

Stu­dents will also learn from the pro­gramme’s ex­pe­ri­enced aca­demi­cians such as Prof Dr Mir­nalini Kan­diah, one of the first three nu­tri­tion of­fi­cers of the Health Min­istry dur­ing the late 1970s.

She is cur­rently one of the re­spected re­searchers spe­cial­is­ing in the fields of car­dio- meta­bolic risk and herbal reme­dies for cancer pa­tients.

In line with the univer­sity’s Praxis ap­proach, which ad­vo­cates the ap­pli­ca­tion of the­ory to prac­tice, the pro­gramme also in­cludes two months of co- op­er­a­tive place­ment for ev­ery year of study.

This of­fers stu­dents the op­por­tu­nity to pur­sue an in­tern­ship with some of the most pres­ti­gious names in the in­dus­try.

Fur­ther adding to the pro­gramme’s cred­i­bil­ity is the pres­tige of the univer­sity. UCSI was ranked SE­TARA Tier 5: Ex­cel­lent in the SE­TARA 2013 rank­ing by the Malaysian Qual­i­fi­ca­tions Agency.

It is also among the Top 300 in the 2015 QS Asian Univer­sity Rank­ings.

This is due to its in­creas­ing re­search out­put, in­ter­na­tion­al­i­sa­tion and col­lab­o­ra­tions with renowned uni­ver­si­ties such as Har­vard Univer­sity, Im mperial Col­lege Lon­don and ma any oth­ers. “Pas­sion anda en­thu­si­asm in im­prov ving hu­man health aree im­por­tant in a stu­dent t, as are good com­mun nica­tion skills.

There are also mul­ti­ple health aware­ness projects where nu­tri­tion­ists are re­quired to work with the com­mu­nity so al­ways be ready to ven­ture out of your com­fort zone,” says As­soc Prof Yim.

To en­sure stu­dents im­prove their com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills, the fi­nal year of the pro­gramme in­volves stu­dents em­bark­ing on a com­mu­nity project.

This in­volves them work­ing with a com­mu­nity, be it a school or a res­i­den­tial area, and ad­vis­ing mem­bers of the pub­lic on nu­tri­tion and wellness.

As­soc Prof Yim ex­plains that cu­rios­ity is an­other essen­tial trait.

“Work can be chal­leng­ing and some­times, it takes months to see the re­sults. But be­ing cu­ri­ous will war­rant you new dis­cov­er­ies and the ex­pe­ri­ence is al­ways ful­fill­ing.”

For more in­for­ma­tion, call 03- 9101 8882 or e- mail www. uc­si­u­ni­ver­sity. edu. my/ on­li­neen­quiry.

As­soc Prof Dr Yim Hip Seng of UCSI Univer­sity ex­plains how the role of a nu­tri­tion­ist has changed over time.

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