WEIGHT, cholesterol and blood sugar levels are the factors that are typically checked to evaluate physical health.
An often overlooked aspect is bone and joint health, which is equally important as it gives the body support and enables basic mobility.
To help raise awareness on this, IHH Healthcare Malaysia – which has a network of 16 hospitals comprising Gleneagles Hospitals, Pantai Hospitals and Prince Court Medical Centre – ran a campaign on bone and joint health in several locations nationwide.
At its recent stop in Gurney Plaza, Penang, visitors participated in several informative and interactive activities that helped to improve their understanding of this health aspect.
Some took the challenge to pedal a stationary bicycle to reach a distance within a fixed time frame.
Besides learning interesting facts, they won gifts.
Others went for body posture assessments by the hospitals’ team of rehabilitation experts who were on hand to offer advice on potential health conditions and risks.
There was also a booth for visitors to calculate their Body Mass Index (BMI), get tips on healthy nutrient intake and ask questions about their bones and joints.
IHH Healthcare Malaysia CEO Jean-Francois Naa said the campaign was aimed at combating orthopaedic conditions.
“We want to tell people not to take minor pains or discomfort lightly.
“By sharing validated information, we hope to build healthier communities.
“A healthy diet and physical activity are basically what keeps your bones and joints healthy.
“Even doing simple exercises regularly can make a huge positive difference.”
According to the International Association for the Study of Pain, close to 2.5 million Malaysians suffer from back pain as a result of the sedentary work-from-home lifestyles that arose from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Many spend hours sitting in front of a screen and that can take a toll on the body.
Pantai Hospital Penang orthopaedic surgeon Dr Boon Huck Wee said disc displacement as well as back, neck and joint pain were among the most common conditions they encountered.
“This is often the result of bad posture arising from improper positioning of tables and chairs, which can lead to slouching.
“Our bodies are meant to be upright, so when you slouch to one side, it puts strain on your joints and muscles.
“Many people also initially dismiss pains and aches or try to cope with painkillers.
“So by the time patients come to us, the damage has been done,” Dr Boon said, urging a change in this mindset.
Gleneagles Hospital Penang consultant orthopaedic surgeon Col. (R) Dr Vejayan Rajoo said maintaining an optimum body weight is also important, as excess weight puts stress on weight-bearing joints like the knees, hips and spine.
“For example, in every step we take, our body weight goes onto our knees, multiple times. This force increases when you go up or down staircases.
“This extra stress can wear down the cartilage in joints and can lead to conditions like arthritis,” Dr Vejayan warned.
He also advised Malaysians to have a healthy diet and exercise to avoid obesity, indirectly maintaining bone and joint health.
The campaign was also held in Kuala Lumpur at Lalaport and in Johor at Toppen Shopping Centre.