MALAYSIA celebrated World Digestive Health Day (WDHD) for the third consecutive year recently, and the focus this year was on educating and empowering Malaysians with reliable and expert information on good digestive health, to help reduce the prevalence of digestive diseases in the country.
The event was launched by Health Ministry’s chief of TB and Leprosy Sector Dr Jiloris J.F. Dony, who represented Deputy Health Minister Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin.
WDHD 2011 was initiated by the Healthy Tummies Advisory Board (HTAB) and supported by Vitagen Healthy Tummies Programme (VHTP), a long-term community service initiated by Malaysia Milk Sdn Bhd.
Dr Jiloris states: “Public awareness on various health issues has increased greatly in recent years; specifically in areas like heart disease, breast, cervical and lung cancers, and even AIDS. Sadly however, when it comes to digestive health, there are many who remain ignorant or worse, complacent of even basic digestive health”.
This Dr Jiloris said was an area that needed to be given immediate attention due to the rising prevalence of digestive disease cases in Malaysia.
“Our digestive system actually affects our overall health and digestive system diseases are easily preventable and can be cured if detected early; but too often, there is not enough emphasis on this as many of us do not understand the our digestive system and importance of taking care of our digestive health.
The public needs to understand the importance of looking after their digestive health and not be complacent. Even simple lifestyle changes such as exercising; healthy eating and quitting bad habits, for example smoking, can do wonders for your digestive health.
Also present at the launch were Vitagen deputy general manager Michael Ong and HTAB spokesman Prof Madya Dr Sheikh Anwar.
The theme of this year’s event was “Enteric Infections: Prevention and Management”, emphasises the importance of hygiene in every day life; and how clean water, food and environment could play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy digestive system.
At the launch, Dr Jiloris unveiled the Healthy Tummy, Healthy Life Guidebook, published in conjunction with WDHD 2011, alongside the HTAB expert panel members, Dr Sheikh Anwar, Datin Dr Liew Yin Mei, Dr Lee Hock Bee and Dr KC Wong.
The educational guidebook, sponsored by VHTP will be distributed for free to the public.
This publication, published by the HTAB panel of experts contains information on digestive diseases, issues on the different types of digestive problems, and tips on preventive measures through simple lifestyle changes.
The WDHD roadshow was held over a period of five days, from May 25, at the Oval Concourse of 1Utama shopping centre, Petaling Jaya.
The roadshow was also supported by leading health experts from Nutrition Month Malaysia (NMM), Malaysia Paediatric Association’s Positive Parenting Programme, as well as the National Cancer Council (Makna).
Nurses, nutritionists and dieticians were present to offer free digestive health screening and counselling, while other interactive and family-orientated activities conducted during the five-day event focused on promoting good digestive health. These activities were aimed at encouraging the public to make healthier choices in their lifestyle and diet.
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