Nutritional companies abreast on health and obesity issues

Herbalife Nutrition products are backed by medical practitioner and have been known as the leading supplements for balanced nutrition, he says


THE increasing percentage of obesity and health issues among the population has somehow continued to keep nutritional suppliers profitable.

Herbalife Nutrition director Steven Chin (picture) said the 2015 National Health and Morbidity survey recently revealed that over 8.5 million Malaysians are overweight and about three million have developed diabetes from unhealthy eating.

Chin told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) that while the current market for additional nutrition is in an advantageous position, Malaysians still need to change and opt for a healthier lifestyle.

“Obesity is a global issue, it is not just in Asian or Western countries. What’s even scarier is, the next generation is also getting bigger. Children are eating their way into becoming obese,” he told TMR in a recent interview.

Chin said one of the larger reasons why children are prone to this is because they mimic their parents and what is eaten at home.

“Even if children ate what their parents or grandparents ate, there is no guarantee that everything will be burnt off the correct way. Back then, although our grandparents ate lots of rice or carbohydrates, they would then go into the field or plantation to work, which was a form of exercise. So, the culture of today plays a big role.

“The community surrounding a person trying to lose weight or eat healthily also needs to be supportive. When friends get together for a meal, the pressure is there for that one person who wants to be healthy,” Chin said.

Chin said that is why Herbalife Nutrition aims to make a change in people’s lives.

“We have always advocated healthy eating, not replacing meals. Our products are backed by medical practitioners and have been known as the leading supplements for balanced nutrition,” he said.

Although Herbalife Nutrition went live in Malaysia in 2006, it originated in the US in 1980, and has since expanded to 94 countries across the globe

Chin said one of its bestselling products is the “Formula One” shake, named for being the very first formula the company created.

“While we know weight loss is a challenge, we never tell people to rely only on shakes.

The shake is usually consumed in the morning because it contains all sorts of vitamins and micro-vitamins that help people get started. And then lunch and dinner are what a person would eat, but in balance,” he said.

The company also offers various types of sports nutrition and products for the ageing society, which includes supplements like fish oil, calcium and fibre.

“From research, we’ve seen that most Malaysians do not have a balanced proportion of protein and fibre. While they may eat protein, the style of cooking is not always the healthiest, so the form in which it is served is important.

“Furthermore, people are also not meeting the standards for daily fruit and vegetable intakes which give fibre. Therefore, people need the extra nutrition from supplements,” Chin said.

He added that there are many distributors in Malaysia who started out as customers. “Customers are happy with the products, so they either end up being long-life consumers, or they begin selling to friends and family as well,” he said.

However, the industry has faced some challenges, Chin said.

“Supplements are often likened to diets, which is not true. The shakes are only there to help you get started, not to replace meals — which is something people still get confused about,” Chin said.

On another note, Herbalife Nutrition released findings from its Asia Pacific Entrepreneurs Survey 2019 which stated 86% of Malaysians aspire to own businesses, with 69% believing it would be more fulfilling than working for others.

Chin said when the 1,000 respondents in Malaysia were asked why, a large number said it was to fulfil a dream, followed by the flexibility and extra income factor.

Aspiring entrepreneurs also said the ability to be a boss and increased job satisfaction contributed to the factors.

Chin said from the survey, some of the barriers that stopped people from starting their own businesses include the lack of initial start-ups.

“Malaysians actually have a very low saving rate. During an emergency, not many will have the money on hand. This is why Herbalife Nutrition also helps to develop entrepreneurs with a low entry cost.

“The distributors are trained by our team to help them understand the products better. Our communities transcend across the globe and are very supportive, which is important,” he said.