Persatuan Kajian Obesiti Malaysia or Malaysian Society for the Study of Obesity (MASSO) was registered (Bil:PPM 1102/93) with the Registrar of Society on 15 February 1994 and was officially launched by YB Datuk Napsiah Omar Minister of National Unity and Social Development on 17 July 1994 at Padang Merbok, Kuala Lumpur. The Founding President for MASSO (1994-1995) was Dato’ Dr. Ismail Merican, Deputy Director General of Health Malaysia. At the 3rd AGM in 1996, Prof. Dr. Mohd Ismail Noor, was elected President MASSO and its Secretariat moved from Servier Ltd (Malaysia), to the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia. In 1998, MASSO changed its name to “Malaysian Association for the Study of Obesity (MASO)” in line with its international affiliate the International Association for the Study of Obesity (IASO) now known as World Obesity Federation.
The objectives of MASO are:
To stimulate and facilitate obesity research on its impact, causes, prevention and management.
To promote improved understanding on obesity among professionals and public.
To collaborate with the government agencies, other professional organisations, private sectors and international bodies to improve local environment to support healthy lifestyle.
To lead and drive national effort to reduce, prevent and manage obesity through involvement in policy development.
MASO membership is open to all health-related professionals namely Nutritionists, Dietitians, Exercise Physiologists, Clinical Psychologists, Endocrinologists, Medical Doctors and Social Scientists whose interest is in line with the objectives of the Association.
As a professional body, MASO is affiliated with the World Obesity Federation, formerly known as International Association for the Study of Obesity (IASO) since 1998, a Founding Member of the Asia-Oceania Association for the Study of Obesity (AOASO) since 1998 and Confederation of Scientific and Technological Associations Malaysia (COSTAM) in 2000. More recently (2017), MASO has collaborated with the Associated International Laboratories (LIA) under the auspices of the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) France. These affiliations have emplaced us within a professional network and given us access to information and events that keep us updated on Obesity related matters around the globe.
At the national level, MASO is actively involved as members in several MOH Committees including the National Coordinating Committee on Food and Nutrition (NCCFN) since 1996 and the Obesity Task Force since 2015 and also represented in several Ministry of Health (MOH) health promotion activities. MASO also collaborates with other professional bodies namely Nutrition Society of Malaysia (NSM) and Malaysian Dietitians’ Association (MDA) in organising the Nutrition Month Malaysia since 2002. Whether at home or abroad, MASO has gained due recognition and is increasingly being consulted by public and private organisations for advice on matters pertaining to Obesity.
For the scientific community, MASO Scientific Conferences are held once every two years since 1995 and MASO Scientific updates at our Annual General meetings. MASO organised its first International Conferences the 2nd Asia-Oceania Conference on Obesity (AOCO) in 2003 followed by the Asia Pacific Obesity Conclave (APOC) in collaboration with the Bariatrics Surgery Society in 2007.
MASO greatest achievement thus far must be the success in jointly organising with World Obesity Federation, the International Congress on Obesity (ICO), a world congress on obesity held once in four years, in KLCC Kuala Lumpur from 16-20 March 2014. It attracted some 1000 participants mainly from abroad and featuring some of the globally renowned obesity researchers to KL. Malaysia is the first South East Asian country and second Asian country behind Japan (1990) to organise this World Obesity Congress.
For the general public at-large, MASO has conducted numerous weight management camps (MASO Camps) since 1998. Usually held over the weekends in selected beach or hill resorts, participants with BMI above 27.5 were invited to attend the MASO camp and given a series of lectures and hands-on practical tips by nutritionists/dieticians, exercise physiologists and clinical psychologists on how to modify their behaviour towards healthy weight reductions. MASO also co-organize and co-sponsor Community Nutrition activities by several local universities in carrying out obesity management and healthy lifestyle programmes.
In 2017, MASO in collaboration with NSM, MDA was awarded a grant by the Ministry of Health Malaysia, through MySIHAT, to pilot an intervention programme for overweight and obese individuals using the “Suku-Suku Separuh dan Cergas” (3SC) concept involving the Enhance Primary Health Care (EnPHC) clinics in 10 districts (Selangor and Johor). Initial findings of the project will be presented in MASO 2019.
Between the years 2000-2010, MASO has collaborated with Pharmaceutical companies namely Roche (Xenical) and Abbott (Sibutramine) to organise numerous Scientific Workshops for clinicians involved in weight management activities. However, these activities ended when both the weight reducing drugs were withdrawn from the market.
MASO latest achievement was winning the bid in a recently concluded AOCO 2019 in Seoul, Korea on 31 August 2019, to organise for the second time (first in 2003) the Asia-Oceania Conference on Obesity (AOCO) 2021 in Kuala Lumpur. We hope all the participants of MASO 2019 and many more will support us in hosting the No. 1 Obesity conference in the Asian region. Make a date with us in AOCO 2021 at Kuala Lumpur on 5 – 7 April 2021.