Health

Published: Sunday April 27, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Monday April 28, 2014 MYT 7:42:28 PM

Helping Malaysians fight the flab

Nutrition Month Malaysia 2014 focuses on the rising problem of obesity in Malaysia.

NUTRITION Month Malaysia (NMM), the nation’s premier nutrition education programme, was back for its 12th consecutive year with the theme “Eat Right, Move More: Fight Obesity”.

Launched by Health Minsiter Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam at the Mid Valley Exhibition Centre recently, the NMM programme strives to improve the nutritional status of Malaysian families in order to prevent non-communicable diseases (especially obesity) that are currently on the rise in Malaysia.

“According to the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) from 1996 to 2011, the obesity rate in Malaysia has increased by almost three and a half times, from 4.4% in 1996 to 15.1% in 2011, which puts the number of obese Malaysians at about 2.5 million people.

“Similarly, overweight rates have also increased, from 16.6% in 1996 to 29.4% in 2011. It has reached the stage where approximately one in two Malaysian adults is either overweight or obese,” noted Dr Subramaniam.

“It is well known that an unhealthy lifestyle such as a poor diet, sedentary living, smoking cigarettes and stress play a major role in the rise of obesity and other related non-communicable diseases. The Health Ministry is fully cognizant of the need for early prevention steps as it will make a difference in reducing the prevalence of obesity and non-communicable diseases,” he added.

Dr Tee E Siong, chairman of the NMM National Steering Committee, highlighted that the focus of this year’s programme will be to fight obesity at its roots, with the theme “Eat Right, Move More: Fight Obesity”.

He accentuated the need to promote greater awareness on the importance of healthy eating and active living in order to reduce the prevalence of obesity.

“It is disturbing when we think of the future and how these figures are projected to continue increasing, not only in adults, but in children as well. Various nutrition-related activities will be carried out as part of NMM’s initiative to reinforce the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle to young adults and families,” explained Dr Tee.

The NMM 2014 commenced with the launch of the Nutri-Fun Land exhibition, a part of the Family Carnival programme. The exhibition showcased an interactive, educational and fun area where families could uncover the truth about obesity and learn ways to prevent it.

Families were also given the chance to discover more about the Food Pyramid and the Physical Activity Pyramid, not to mention, ascertain ways to choose healthier foods and jumpstart their fitness regimes.

The two-day carnival also showcased free nutrition screenings body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, blood cholesterol, blood glucose and body fat and provided free dietary advice by trained professionals, as well as many other fun activities and games organised by the sponsors.

During the carnival, a new NMM guide book entitled Eat Right, Move More: Fight Obesity was distributed to visitors, the contents of which largely focused on identifying obesity and its risk factors. It also included key messages on the prevention of obesity and many other useful tips on healthy eating and living an active lifestyle.

Also highlighted were a few guidelines on weight loss, as well as a Q&A section aimed at educating readers, especially overweight and obese individuals, to start living healthily.

The NMM programme has been an annual initiative since 2002, and is the collaborative effort of three professional bodies, namely the Nutrition Society of Malaysia, Malaysian Dietitians’ Association, and Malaysian Association for the Study of Obesity.

This programme also receives support from the Health Ministry, particularly the Nutrition Division.

Tags / Keywords: Health, NMM, carnival

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