PUTRAJAYA: A National Nutrition Policy 2.0 has been put in place to improve and maintain the nutritional well-being of the people, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The policy, launched by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (pic) is also aimed at strengthening the country’s food security, reducing the prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), as well as further improve our dietary and nutritional status.
“To achieve the aims of this policy, 13 strategies have been formulated to ensure the nutritional well-being of the people,” he said during the virtual launch yesterday.
In line with the policy, Muhyiddin said the government had also reviewed the National Nutrition Action Plan 2016-2025 so that the country would have a healthy generation by ensuring that nutritional well-being begins from an early age.
He pointed out that rapid socio-economic development and changes in lifestyle and dietary practices had affected the people’s nutritional well-being and had changed the polarity of illnesses and diseases in the society.
“This has caused the country to face a double burden in malnutrition with the increase in obesity rates at all stages of age and the issue of lack of nutrition among children aged five and below, which requires serious attention.
“To tackle the issue of malnutrition among children and adolescents, a committee involving various stakeholders will be formed,” he said.
Muhyiddin also pointed out that aside from NCDs caused by dietary habits, such as diabetes and hypertension, it is estimated that in 2030, Malaysia will achieve “ageing nation” status with 15.3% of its population aged 60 and above.
“With the worrying figures showing an upward trend, prevention and control of the ‘double burden’ pose a challenge to the country’s healthcare.
“Efforts to fight and bring all malnutrition issues to an end requires a policy that is sustainable and involves all sectors, be it government, private, industries, as well as the Malaysian people themselves,” he said.
The policy, added the Prime Minister, must be implemented in line with the “whole-of-government and whole-of-society” concept.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said the first National Nutrition Policy was approved by the Cabinet in 2003 and was reviewed so that it could address current issues and the latest developments concerning malnutrition.
He said the National Nutrition Policy 2.0 was timely as the country and people face challenges brought about by the pandemic.
“Apart from vaccination, healthy eating is crucial and needs to be given emphasis to build the body’s resilience towards infectious diseases,” he said.