UKM Researchers Received Research Grant with total 300,000 Pound Sterling

By Asmahanim Amir
Pictures by Ikhwan Hashim

KUALA LUMPUR, 21 February 2017 – Researchers from the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) received a research grant worth a total of 300,000 Pound Sterling for the ToyBox Malaysia project.

The grant, funded by the Medical Research Council or Academy Science Malaysia (Newton-Ungku Omar), is on ‘Improving Health Energy Balance and Obesity Related Behaviours among Preschools in Malaysia: Feasibility of Adapting the ToyBox study’.

Project Leader, Prof Dr Goh Bee Koon said the grant given to the group will be used as intervention for pre-schoolers to encourage them adopt healthy practices and consequently reduce the risk of obesity and illness as a result of obesity.

“We find that about 16 until 17.6 percent pre-schools students in urban and rural areas in this country are obese.

“The findings show that the problem occurred due to over 60 percent of them are not physically active and almost half of them have unhealthy eating habits,” she said at the ToyBox Malaysia Project Press Conference, here, recently.

The project aims to encourage pre-schools students to drink plain water compared to sweet beverages, take a healthier snack like fruits and do the physical activities.

“To make this project successful, we will meet parents to explain to them about the methods of proper nutrition which they can practice at home.

“The main key is to encourage kids to drink plain water and do physical activities for a period of four weeks.

“This practice will be repeated for two weeks longer to ensure that children will remember and adopt the new healthy lifestyle we try to inculcate,” she explained.

She said the main element that will be used to motivate children to learn are toys.

The project also involves Dr Leigh Gibson from the Roephampton University as the Principal Investigator, Co-researchers from the United Kingdom, Dr Cecilia Essau (Roephampton University), Dr Sue Reeves (Roephampton University), and Dr Carolyn Summerbell (Durham University).

Besides that, four researchers from Malaysia are also involved and they are Dr Ruzita Abd Talib (UKM), Dr Denise Koh C L (UKM), Dr Cheah Whye Lian (Universiti Malaysia Sarawak) and Dr Julia Lee A C (Universiti Malaysia Sarawak).