BENTONG - Malaysians’ penchant for skipping breakfast and eating late, especially at night, coupled with a sedentary lifestyle is ruining their figure and health.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said obesity is becoming the major health issue with the number of obese people almost tripling in the past 15 years from four per cent in 1996 to 14 per cent in 2010.
And since obesity is the gateway to other chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, heart and kidney problems, he said the risk of more Malaysians developing these diseases will become greater in future.
Liow said the ministry would soon mount a health campaign aimed at educating the public on how to prevent these chronic diseases.
He said the ministry would seek help from non-governmental organisations to reach out to the people especially in villages and rural areas.
“The problem with us is that Malaysians just love to eat especially late night suppers and we don’t exercise.
“Unlike our forefathers who woke up early and had an early and heavy breakfast and light dinner, we wake up late and often miss breakfast and even lunch. But we make it up by having a heavy late dinner.
“Our forefathers did physical work and sweated it out, but we work in an office and rarely exercise. That is why obesity is becoming a problem, even among children,” he said after distributing Mandarin oranges and angpows to patients during a visit to Bentong Hospital here yesterday.
Liow, who is also Bentong MP, said the ministry was worried over the rise in the number of patients with chronic diseases, especially in rural areas.
“When the haemodialysis machines at the hospital here were increased from four to 14, the number of patients also grew from six to 55 now.
“Considering that Bentong is a small town with only a population of 140,000, the number of kidney patients is high compared to the national average of 70:100,000 population.”
Earlier, Liow witnessed the handing over of three new haemodialysis machines from Radicare (M) Sdn Bh chief operating officer Halwah Abdul Manap to hospital director Datuk Dr Chandra Sekanan Raman.
Liow also announced that the ministry would consider sending more medical specialists especially trauma specialists to the hospital since it handled a lot of trauma and accident cases due to its proximty to Karak Highway.
He also visited the hospital’s new four-storey building which is due for completion in 2012 which will house the patients’ wards, emergency clinic and mortuary.