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IMU Counters Sedentary Workforce with Corporate Wellness Initiatives

15 May 2017

~IMU’s initiative further promotes 25th year anniversary mission to create Better Health, Better Society~

Kuala Lumpur, 11 May 2017 – Bringing the nation one step closer to health and wellness, International Medical University (IMU) today launched its Wellness programme to promote overall wellness amongst the staff and students of IMU. In addition to the launch, IMU also sees its wellness metrics elevated when Deputy Minister of Health Malaysia, His Honourable Dato’ Seri Dr Hilmi Bin Haji Yahaya presented the university with the “Kafeteria Sihat” (Healthy Cafeteria) and “MyBeSS” awards for their Pandan Serai Café. IMU is the first university in Malaysia to receive such awards by the Ministry of Health (MOH) Malaysia under its initiative to provide more nutritious and healthier food options as well as cleaner foods for a healthier community towards disease prevention.

Speaking at the ceremony, Dato’ Seri Dr Hilmi commended the university for their initiative to increase awareness on health and wellness at the workplace, stating that, “We are happy to work with such institutions who recognise the importance of health and wellness and we commend IMU for paving the way for other workplaces and educational institutions to follow.”

He added after signing the Healthy Cafeteria and MyBeSS Award plaque, “It is our hope that the staff and student bodies will then bring these healthy habits home and share it with their families and friends, especially the young ones.”  The Ministry will continue to focus on prevention and control of diseases. Healthy lifestyle such as healthy eating, physical activity, ‘no smoking’ and mental health will continue to be advocated. Dato’ Seri Dr Hilmi’s full speech Also present at the launch was Prof Abdul Aziz Baba, Vice-Chancellor at the IMU and Chairman of the IMU Wellness Steering Committee.  He shared, “Most of the workforce spends more than half their waking hours at the workplace, having at least two meals here.  We need to help them make healthier food choices.” “Doing it together also means they can motivate and encourage one another and not feel so alone on the journey,” he added.

“We are serious about this Wellness initiative and embarking on this because we care.  We care about our staff, the students, the faculty, the community and we care that they are part of our nation and the world at large. They too have families and friends whom they can positively influence whether directly or indirectly. It is also timely as part of our 25th Anniversary Celebration, to reinforce and promote better health and thus result in a better society. Let it start with us.”

Prof Abdul Aziz Baba’s full speech The IMU Wellness Programme is planned with ‘preventive maintenance’ in mind, focusing on five categories, namely; health risk assessments, lifestyle management, disease management, smoking cessation and mental health and stress management. In addition to making healthier food choices, the university is encouraging smokers to quit and committing to this by running a “Quit Smoking Clinic” at its IMU Healthcare centre. The Wellness programme offers health screenings and ongoing activities to engage with its staff to cultivate a healthier lifestyle, in addition to providing health coaching and disease prevention talks and workshops as well as preventative dental screening. Increased physical activity is also promoted to remind people to take the stairs and participate in group exercises such as Zumba. Other activities like tai-chi and yoga classes are also made available to the staff. The use of music or art to promote relaxation and mental health will also be seen implemented as part of the Wellness programme. The University also recently subscribed on the AIA Vitality programme for their entire staff team to provide more benefits for a healthier lifestyle. IMU aims to reduce health risks and promote healthy behaviours among all individuals in IMU and its community. The university also strives to empower its staff to take responsibility for their own health and well-being as well as create a workplace culture that prioritises health and wellness thus increasing productivity. In addition, the university conducts briefings on Healthy Eating which includes guidelines on food choices and ordering healthier options for university events.  Last but not least, the University has also embarked on Food Safety Inspection/Audits to kick off their wellness initiative which earned them the Grade A status awarded by the Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL) Health and Environment Department for their Pandan Serai Café. This status endorses the University’s seriousness in providing a clean and healthy food premise and the commitment of their F&B operators for maintaining high standards of hygiene practice in managing the food and beverages. The initiative will also span across the university’s other campuses in Seremban, Kluang and Batu Pahat, not just their main campus in Bukit Jalil.

Other universities and employers can take a leaf out of IMU’s book and make the workplace one that staff can look forward to attending and feel cared for not just through their paycheck.

Related story: Healthy Cafe: Eating Healthily On Campus IMU’s Pandan Serai Café Wins Award In the News:

New Straits  Times, 30 May 2017
NTV7, 11 May 2017 Countering Sedentary and Unhealthy Lifestyle
 Urban Health, 17 July 2017

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