Subra: Many not eating enough veggies and fruits

Healthy start: Dr Subramaniam (centre) with ‘Kelab Doktor Muda’ pupils of SJKT Simpang Lima after launching the health awareness programme at the primary school in Klang. — Bernama

KLANG: The majority of Malaysians consume an alarmingly small amount of vegetables and fruits so much so that it has become a national health concern, says Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.

He said up to 85% of adult Malaysians do not consume sufficient fruits and vegetables, while there are those who do not eat them at all.

“Many tend to favour meat over vegetables and fruits, and this can be seen clearly when Malaysians eat out or buy packed food.

“This lifestyle trend is a health concern, especially when 40% of our adult citizens are overweight and 15% of them are obese,” he said after launching the Nak Sihat (Want to be Healthy) health awareness programme at SJKT Simpang Lima here yesterday.

Dr Subramaniam noted that for any meal portion, half of your plate should contain vegetables and fruit, with a quarter portion each of meat and carbohydrates such as rice or noodles.

He said that according to the National Health & Morbidity Survey 2015, 64% of Malaysians aged 18 and above were either overweight or obese.

A total of 47.7% of them also suffered from high cholesterol level, with only 9.1% aware of their health issues, he added.

Dr Subramaniam also said his ministry had launched a programme with schools to educate parents on the importance of a balanced diet for their children.

“The ministry’s Nutrition Division is collaborating with the Education Ministry and the Parent Teacher Associations of schools nationwide to offer parents, especially mothers, guidance and counselling on having a proper and balanced diet for their children.

“Mothers mostly play the more influential role in food preparation, and with the right knowledge, they can bring change,” he said, adding that the collaboration started earlier this year.

Dr Subramaniam also called on parents to adjust their thinking by not eating at fast-food restaurants whenever they want to celebrate their children’s good performance at school.

“They will tend to associate good results and success with fast food. It is not a good thing in the long run and parents need to change their mindset on this,” he added.

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