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New Malaysian research on World Obesity Day


KUALA LAMPUR: Five most important risk factors for overweightness are insufficient intake of fruits and vegetables (90.4 per cent), anxiety (51.4 per cent), physical inactivity (30.3 per cent), depression (26.6 per cent) and stress (18.3 per cent).

These costs included treatment, loss of economic output and the loss of years of productive life due to obesity-related mortality.

In conjunction with the World Obesity Day’s theme, “Everybody needs to act”, which will be celebrated on Friday, it is now the time to declare the obesity fight as everybody’s fight.

According to National Health and Morbidity Survey 2019, one in two adults is overweight or obese in Malaysia.

In 2017, the Economist Intelligence Unit reported that Malaysia had the highest overall cost for obesity among Asean members, reaching 10 to 20 per cent of the country’s healthcare expenditure.

Evidence shows that obesity is a risk factor for many non-communicable diseases and now a major risk factor in Covid-19 complications and mortality.

From the preliminary results of our study among 3,221 working female adults, half of them were overweight (31.7 per cent) and obese (18.5 per cent).

Government and policymakers reaffirm their commitment to addressing obesity through the implementation of national strategies that tackle the roots of obesity.

Healthy lifestyle promotions should be disseminated via the media.

Public health policies and preventive intervention programmes, especially on modifiable health-related behaviours, should be made available.

Preventive approaches should also be made population-based and multilevel, focus on environmental and policy change, and require participation from actors in multiple sectors;

Employers are encouraged to provide a healthy working environment for employees to reduce the risk and impact of obesity.

Municipalities should improve the availability and accessibility of parks to encourage healthier life practices among residents;

Social support from family members, colleagues and neighbours to practise a healthy lifestyle is crucial.

Avoid stigmatising obese people as this may prevent them from seeking medical care; and,

AT the individual level, practising a healthier lifestyle is the most effective way to combat obesity.

Stop smoking and drinking alcohol. Most public health clinics provide quit- smoking programmes.

You can register yourself through the Health Ministry’s JomQuit programme.

Make sure your diet consists of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean poultry and fish, nuts and legumes, and vegetable oils.

There are apps that keep track of your diet.

Love your mind as you love your soul. Practise mindfulness, deep breathing, as well as relaxation exercises and therapies. Feel free to seek help and treatment if you need it.

You should do moderate-intensity exercise. This includes brisk walking, cycling at moderate speeds, swimming, gardening or walking.

Improve your connections in the community to build a supportive society and conducive environment to keep you motivated.

The only way we can make progress in obesity prevention is by realising that this is an issue for everybody.

Together, we can give everybody the best chance to live happier, healthier and longer lives.


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