PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is considered an unhealthy nation as a large number of its people have health problems such as heart disease and are obese, says Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
He also said that awareness on health issues among Malaysians is still at a low level.
“If you ask me, the Health Minister, is Malaysia a healthy nation? No. Our country has among the highest rates of obesity and heart disease,” said Khairy while on the air in a Selamat Pagi Malaysia TV programme on Thursday (Nov 11).
He added that this was one of the reasons for the high number of Covid-19 deaths in the country, as a large number of patients had comorbidities or chronic diseases.
Realising the importance of health literacy and cultivating behavioural change among Malaysians, Khairy said the government launched the Agenda Nasional Malaysia Sihat (ANMS) to cultivate a healthy lifestyle, allay the risk of disease and reduce the cost of treatment and rehabilitation.
He added that Malaysians must voluntarily change their behaviour and increase their awareness on health in order to develop a healthy nation without solely depending on the Health Ministry or the government to do so.
Khairy added that out of every two Malaysians, one is obese, while one out of four Malaysians does not keep fit, he said.
“Besides that, only one out of every 20 Malaysians practise healthy eating according to the right nutritional guidelines. According to official statistics, half a million adults are depressed. I believe that this number is still lower than reality,” he said.
Khairy added that behavioural change is important while self-awareness of one’s own health is among the crucial elements of the ANMS.
“If we just depend on the Health Ministry to monitor standard operating procedures (SOPs) and issue compounds, it is not adequate,” he said
“We want the country to be successful in managing the pandemic,” added Khairy, who said that Japan was among the nations successful in pandemic management due to the behaviour of its citizens, and did not have to issue any compounds.