PhD student emerged as one of the top three winners for Young Investigators' Symposium Award 2019

October 2019

Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences' PhD student Muhammad Daniel Azlan Mahadzir emerged as one of the top three winners for the Young Investigators' Symposium Award at Malaysian Association for the Study of Obesity (MASO) 2019 Scientific Conference on Obesity on 15 October 2019.

Muhammad Daniel was the only selected student from a private university to compete in the symposium with a large number of participants from public universities.

He gave an oral presentation based on his research which looks into the development, implementation, and process evaluation of PERSUADE, a community-based nutrition and lifestyle behaviour peer support program for abdominally obese Malaysian adults with Metabolic Syndrome (MetS).

Abdominal obesity is a manifestation of underlying metabolic chaos that is represented in a clustering of metabolic risk factors termed as MetS.

MetS is an important health issue in developing countries including Malaysia which calls for immediate attention to improve the prevention and management of this condition.

PERSUADE incorporates relevant behavioural improvement goals identified through a comprehensive review of literature and guidelines.

The peer group lesson plans and arrangement of information were designed based on findings from focus group discussions and the overall construct of Health Belief Model.

The effectiveness of PERSUADE was tested through a three-month pre-post trial to promote nutrition and lifestyle behaviour change in adults with MetS.

The participants' program adherence (81.3%) and content satisfaction (90.3%) were high while peer leadership (75.5%) score was satisfactory.

Furthermore, content satisfaction is significantly correlated with the changes of waist circumference (r=0.295, p=0.044).

Additionally, changes in body fat percentage is significantly correlated with both content satisfaction (r=0.521, p=0.000) and peer leadership (r=0.354, p=0.015).

The process evaluation of PERSUADE demonstrates its feasibility to inform and benefit abdominally adults with MetS.

Muhammad Daniel’s research proposes that future studies should identify the possibility of extending the use of peer-based intervention programs with interactivity of peer support via social media, and other means to increase participants’ engagement.