Experts: Start the clock on adopting a healthy lifestyle

PETALING JAYA: To support the government’s newly launched 10-year Agenda Nasional Malaysia Sihat (ANMS), Malaysians can start by adopting a healthy lifestyle right away, say health professionals, as they raise the alarm on the nation’s low level of personal health awareness.

Medical Practitioners Coalition Association of Malaysia president Dr Raj Kumar Maharajah said the average Malaysian can start to support the ANMS by taking control of their own health.

“For so long, Malaysians have laid the responsibility of their health on the government and health professionals. It’s time they start eating right, exercising and doing regular screenings.

“They can also download apps on their smart phones to monitor their fitness and vital signs,” he said.

As Covid-19 is here to stay, Dr Raj Kumar said Malaysians need to keep healthy and their immunity, as well as fitness, at the highest level so that when the next pandemic hits, they will be able to withstand it and not end up hospitalised.

Malaysian Society for Occupational Safety and Health (MSOSH) president Dr Shawaludin Husin said the ANMS is not only a relevant long-term initiative to help Malaysians cope with the endemic phase of Covid-19, but also to raise health awareness and literacy.

Dr Shawaludin said for the ANMS initiative to succeed, the government must move apace with the people and maximise the use of new media that could effectively cultivate health literacy and promote healthy living.

“Platforms such as social media and medium such as visual images, videos and infographics should be used so that people will be able to understand and digest health literacy easily,” he said.

Dr Shawaludin said with a long-term initiative such as the ANMS, it is hoped that Malaysians will be more aware about health and move together with the government to build a healthy nation.

Health director-general Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah also urged Malaysians to lead a healthier lifestyle by consuming less sugar as diabetes and the “sugar culture” in the country have become a norm.He said diabetes is among the major problems in Malaysia as one in five adults in the nation suffers from diabetes with the risk of serious complications.

Dr Noor Hisham said according to the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2019, the prevalence of diabetes among Malaysian adults aged 18 and above rose from 11.2% in 2011 to 13.4% in 2015 while in 2019, it stood at 18.3% or 3.9 million of the adult population.

“With other complications such as high blood pressure and heart attack, it is a ‘recipe’ that creates a disease that is currently the number one killer in Malaysia,” he said during the virtual World Diabetes Day 2021 Forum yesterday.

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