The Star Malaysia - Star2

Advancing nutrition


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.

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

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