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KOTA BHARU, April 6 — The Ministry of Health (MOH) estimates that 73 per cent of deaths among Malaysians are caused by non-communicable diseases.
MOH Disease Control Division deputy director Dr Omar Mihat said the non-communicable diseases were hypertension, diabetes and heart problems which were closely related to people’s unhealthy lifestyle.
“This includes bad smoking habit, unhealthy diet and lack of exercises that are often difficult to change. These non-communicable diseases are also detected among young people each year,” he told reporters after opening the National Adolescent Health Symposium here today.
Also present were Malaysian Association of Adolescent Health (MAAH) chairman Dr Maimon Alias and Kelantan Health director Datuk Dr Ahmad Razin Ahmad Mahir.
Dr Omar said a survey conducted in 2012 involving 25,507 youths in Malaysia revealed that only 22.8 per cent of them were active, 19.1 per cent were overweight and 7.9 per cent were obese.
He said a study conducted by the Tobacco and E-cigarettes Survey Among Malaysian Adolescents (Tecma) in 2016 showed that the number of smokers among Malaysian adolescents had increased to 15.2 per cent from 11.2 per cent in 2012.
“More worrying, from a dental examination conducted last year, it was also found that smoking was detected among pupils in primary schools,” he said.
As such, Dr Omar stressed that various programmes and holistic approach must be taken to empower efforts to raise public awareness on the importance to adopt healthy lifestyle, especially among adolescents.
He said continuous efforts should be implemented with the involvement of all parties, including the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Youth and Sports through programmes at the school level.
Healthy living environment and culture should be prioritised to produce a healthier generation in the future as well as to reduce government spending, he added. — Bernama