Nestle Omega Plus and Heart Foundation of Malaysia (YJM) continues to create awareness on heart disease through its annual walk event.
The Walk-A-Mile has grown from strength to strength, garnering 3,800 participants for the walk last weekend, from 500 participants in its inaugural event 15 years ago.
Nevertheless heart disease remains the number one killer in Malaysia, said YJM president Tun Ahmad Sarji Abdul Hamid.
“Statistics show a quarter of all hospital deaths are caused by heart disease, one in two people have high cholesterol and a quarter of heart disease patients are below 50 years old.
“Nearly half of the heart disease patients have risk factors of obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and being smokers.
“An increasing number of Malaysians are succumbing to heart disease at a younger age and this issue is further amplified by a lack of regular exercise, unhealthy eating habits and other risk factors,” he noted.
He emphasised the need for awareness on managing heart health holistically through three key factors of getting daily physical activity, regular medical check-ups and having a consistent balanced diet.
Both Ahmad Sarji and YJM chairman Datuk Dr J.S. Sambhi suggested the need to include a syllabus on healthcare in the education system.
Nestle Malaysia sales executive director Chew Soi Ping stressed the importance of paying close attention to health earlier rather than later.
“As Malaysia’s heart health advocate, we truly believe your heart is in your own hands.
“Heart disease does not happen overnight and the simple truth is that every one of us needs to take care of our heart health now and not later in life when symptoms of heart disease have developed.
“I believe Malaysians are now more aware of the dangers of heart disease, but I also believe our work is not done yet as 42% of Malaysians who have high cholesterol are below 40 years old.
“The 2015 National Health and Morbidity Survey revealed 47.7% of Malaysians above 18 years old suffer from high cholesterol levels in comparison to 32.6% in 2011.
“Every 15 minutes, there is a death in Malaysia caused by heart disease, but the good news is you can also save a life in as little as 15 minutes with a brisk walk,” said Chew.
Nestle Malaysia then presented YJM with a cheque for RM30,000.
Families, friends and individuals took part in the morning walk that took them through the beautifully landscaped Perdana Botanical Gardens in Kuala Lumpur.
At the end of the walk, participants kept their heart rate up in a fun Zumba workout.
The annual event was also attended by Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Seri Mohd Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz.