By M. Izham B. Hashim
Pictures by Victor Lo
Health problems among young people are a worrying trend in this country.They sap the energy of young people and impose a high economic burden on the nation.
Alarmingly, the Health Ministry revealed in 2012 that 17 million Malaysians were diagnosed with non-communicable diseases: 2.6 million suffering from diabetes, 5.8 million from hypertension, 6.2 million with high cholesterol and 2.5 million are living with obesity.
Professor Dr Wahab Kosai, a member of the Health Promotion Board of Malaysia (Mysihat), disclosed that more people are dying younger due to unhealthy lifestyle habits such as bad dietary patterns, stress, alcohol abuse, smoking.
Lack of exercise is another factor, which puts them at a greater risk of heart attacks, diabetes, obesity, hypertension and strokes.
Young people deserve to lead healthier and happier lives through positive youth development programs that promote regular outdoor physical activities,” Deputy Health Minister Datuk Rosnah Shirlin said during the launch of the Mysihat programme to curb the rise of non-communicable diseases among youths.
In conjunction with the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s recent visit to Papar, Mysihat together with the Papar District Council organized a variety of fun-filled activities to help youths make the right decision about their health.
The Federal Government has allocated RM16 million for Mysihat to organise various health-related programmes throughout the country.
Through application, non-governmental organisations are awarded grants to hold health-related programs.
“With the support of NGO groups, Mysihat programmes not only help young people stay physically active and healthy, but also give them a great opportunity to learn new skills, a chance at character development, and make new friends,” she told reporters during the press conference.
Datuk Rosnah, who is also Member of Parliament for Papar said the Mysihat activities that were held on Thursday were aimed at getting youths to spread the message of health awareness to their peers.
In an effort to spread awareness and promote healthier lifestyle, youth volunteers led a convoy of 10 four-wheel drive vehicles to major towns in Sabah, and distributed more than 8,000 leaflets during the Malaysian Prime Minister's visit to the district which was attended by more than 10,000 people.
"It's absolutely essential that the younger generation take good care of their health to avoid the risk of developing health problems later in their lives" UMNO media officer Datin Nirvana Jalil Ghani told reporters during the press conference.
"We want young people to have a healthier start at life, and outdoor activities is a great way to improve physical fitness and help them steer clear of drugs, smoking, alcohol and other negative influences" she added.
Datuk Rosnah urged more NGOs to join the fight against diseases by working together with Mysihat to organise more health-related activities.
"NGOs are invited to submit their proposal detailing the type of activity, who they target for the Mysihat activities and budget estimate, together with their application to Mysihat for consideration,"she said.-Insight Sabah.