PETALING JAYA: More people are smoking, leading sedentary lives and switching to a higher fat diet, exposing themselves to higher health risks.
National Heart Institute cardiology department head Datuk Seri Dr Robaayah Zambahar said they risked health problems such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease, which is the number one killer in the country.
“More people are going for cappuccinos, deep-fried food and fast food such as burgers and fries which have a higher amount of fat.
“We need to burn off that extra fat so that it doesn't create health problems but our current lifestyle does not involve much exercise.
“For example, we drive to the store when we can walk and we try to find the closest parking lot to the mall entrance.
“Some have also become couch potatoes and are hooked to sedentary activities such as watching television and playing computer games,” she said.
According to the Second National Health and Morbidity Survey in 1996, one out of four Malaysians is overweight.
The survey also showed that 51% of Malaysians have one or two risk factors leading to cardiovascular disease.
The next National Health and Morbidity Survey would be in 2006.
Malaysian Doctors' Co-operative Society chairman Dr J.S. Deo said the current figure would definitely be higher.
“If you don't take care of your weight it might lead to other problems such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and even death,” he said.
He added that it was essential to educate the public on how to take care of their health as “health is in the hands of every Malaysian, be they rich or poor.”
“Eat a wide variety of food especially more cereal, fruits and vegetables.
“Also avoid snacks, soft drinks, cordials, excessive desserts and deep-fried food and eat according to age.
“Frequent exercise such as walking for between 15 and 20 minutes three times a week will also help,” he said.
Nutrition Society of Malaysia president Dr Tee Ee Siong said the eating habits of Malaysians were far from satisfactory.
“Consumers hold the key to healthy eating – on what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat,” he said.