Drop ‘so what’ attitude and reduce weight, Malaysians urged

Deputy Health Minister Lee Boon Chye says obesity is not just about looks but more importantly, it has health implications. (AFP pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Health Minister Lee Boon Chye has urged those who are obese to drop their apathetic attitude and start considering the health implications.

Lee said many who were obese tended to have a “so what” attitude and were not aware of how obesity led to illnesses and affected one’s longevity.

“Most would say, ‘so what? If you don’t mind me looking a little overweight, so what?’ It is not just that, because there are health implications that come along with obesity.

“(If you are obese), you are prone to illnesses including heart diseases, diabetes, stroke, gout, sleep apnoea, breathing problems and asthma. If you get pneumonia, it gets worse if you are obese.

“Remember H1N1 (swine flu)? Those that were prone to the flu, apart from pregnant women, were people who were obese.

“Obesity itself is also associated with certain cancers, for example, uterine, esophageal, gastric, liver and kidney cancer occur two to four times more with obese people compared with normal people, and it marginally increases risk of multiple myeloma cancer, and pancreatic, breast, thyroid and ovarian cancer.

“So, obesity is not just about the looks, it also affects your health,” said Lee at the Distinguished Speakers Series organised by Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy.

According to Lee, a study done in the past found that if an 18-year-old is a smoker and is obese, the average life expectancy is reduced by 21 years.

“So, in this case, instead of living up to 80, you will only live up to 60,” he added.

Lee also said he was hopeful that Malaysians would be able to practise the “Suku Suku Separuh” rule when portioning food.

“‘Suku Suku Separuh’ (or Quarter Quarter Half) simply means, a quarter of carbohydrate, a quarter of protein and half of fruits and vegetables.

“This is one practice which can be done individually. If the community is able to practise this, then that’s good. In fact, binges will cost you more,” he said.

The “Suku Suku Separuh” slogan was launched in August 2017 by former health minister Dr S Subramaniam in an effort to urge restaurants and other eateries to provide healthier eating options at their outlets.

In expressing his determination to change Malaysians’ taste buds, Lee said one of the ways to curb or prevent obesity was a diet change.

“With the introduction of sugar tax, hopefully, we can change the taste buds of Malaysians from sweet to less sweet.

“Some have asked, what about the ‘mamak stalls’? That depends on you (consumer). When a consumer demands less sugar, eventually the mamak stalls will serve their drinks with less sugar.

“Let the market forces change the behaviour of sugar consumption. Soon we will have enough consumers who say no or less sugar.

“Some have asked, can’t we just close all mamak stalls after midnight? While we are exploring that option, being Malaysian, it is not easy. (Mamak stalls) are part and parcel of our culture,” he said.

Lee, however, said that while it was not easy to implement this, the health ministry looked at this option as something to be considered in the future.


Source : https://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2018/11/29/drop-so-what-attitude-and-reduce-weight-malaysians-urged/