Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Working towards a ‘trim and fit’ police force

For more than a month now, Bukit Aman's director of management Datuk Pahlawan Zulkifli Abdullah has started the day with a new routine. Previously, he would go straight to his office at the 30th floor of the second tower. Now, as early as 7.30am, Zulkifli heads to the gym in Bukit Aman for an exercise session before clocking in for work at 9am. Since the department launched the "Trim and Fit 2016" programme on February 6, Zulkifli has been among 35 participants in the search for a formula to help obese police officers and personnel lose weight and adopt a healthy lifestyle. Besides spending 45 minutes to an hour each day on physical exercise, he also controls his diet with the help of a dietician from the Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya Health Department (JKWPKL & Putrajaya). The outcome of the month-long habit change can already be felt. It is also a great therapy for stress, he said. Though there is no issue over his weight, for Zulkifli the programme has provided new information on proper healthcare. "Since joining the programme, I automatically watch what I eat. My rice intake is limited to two small servings a day and I cannot exceed a daily calorie intake of 1,800," he said. Obesity in the police force "Trim and Fit", which will be extended to the entire police force in 2017, focuses on individuals who are obese and have a body mass index (BMI) of over 27.5. It will also be a compulsory requirement for employment confirmation and promotion in the force. Zulkifli said obesity had become a concern in the police force as it was a cause of heart disease, diabetes, kidney failure and high blood pressure. Not less than 10% of the force face obesity, involving 11,274 people out of a total of 109,304 people in the force. Those affected consist of 1,401 officers and 9,873 personnel. According to 2015 statistics, 250 officers and personnel died due to diabetes, heart disease, cancer and kidney failure. Zulkifli added that the image of overweight officers and personnel tainted the police force's image. No excuses Lack of time and work commitment is often the excuse police personnel give when failing to watch their diet and exercise. However, Zulkifli said this should not be the case as exercise could be done anywhere, even while watching television at home. Everything depends on awareness and what one wants because exercise does not require going to the gym. "I don't believe there's not enough time because we have 24 hours in a day. It's impossible that a person doesn't sleep, rest or eat, so it's basically how they manage with their time. "As for me, I exercise before work. It just depends on a person's determination," he said. The pilot programme which ends in June will collect information on the officers and personnel involved before the programme is introduced to the entire force next year. "For example, what's the best exercise to achieve good physical health and how much fat has to be burned. The formula will be more comprehensive and not depend solely on a person's BMI," he said. Enforcement When a suitable formula is available, heads of police training units nationwide will be called for a three-day theory and practical session to be executed at the lower level. It is not difficult because each police unit has its own physical training officer, Zulkifli said, adding that he was confident the programme would be a success. The programme will be carried out on all levels, especially for individuals who are overweight, and training will be customised based on a person's age and the level of health. "As stated by Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, those who are overweight will not be promoted while the 'Trim and Fit' programme will be a pre-requisite for confirmation and promotion purposes. "We have given them time and now we are making it known through the media and internal channels. Each of them should look at their body and exercise regularly, not once a week or once a month." Diet assistance With the help of a dietician, each of the 35 participants are monitored to ensure they lose weight correctly. Individual consultation sessions are held three or four times a week to monitor weight, including body fat percentage, muscle and composition. They are taught from a dietary aspect how to follow the recommendations and need to successfully lose weight within six months, according to JKPWKL & Putrajaya Nutrition Branch assistant director Nor Azah Ahmad. The most frequent mistake made by those trying to lose weight is not eating during breakfast and dinner. "We advise participants not to skip meals and to eat three times a day – breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food intake needs to be balanced with daily exercise. "The safest weight loss is between 0.5kg and 1kg a week," she said, adding that the recommended daily calorie intake was between 1,800 and 2,000 with six servings a day. Daily exercise is important in completing the weight loss process, especially exercise that targets cardio and fat around the abdomen. "Both go hand in hand to become a lifestyle and they must keep the momentum going to maintain a healthy diet and physical activity after the programme ends," she said. Rejuvenated feel The body feels fresher and sleep is better than before, said participant ACP Zulkefly Yahya, 52. Zulkefly, who is Management Department secretariat assistant director, said his problem was due to his weight of 104kg. "My BMI exceeds the recommended range. I always feel tired and lethargic because I don't control my food intake. I eat whatever I like. "It was only after I participated in the nutrition workshop earlier in the programme that I understood the function of food to a healthy body," said Zulkefly who rarely took time to exercise prior to the programme. Two months into the programme, though, he has ensured that one hour is allocated per day for exercise. "Now I have lost 4kg and will work hard to achieve a body weight of 90kg by June," he said. – Bernama, March 3, 2016.]]>

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