Health Ministry: Millions of Malaysians at risk of non-infectious diseases
KUALA LUMPUR, June 11 — Millions of Malaysians are at risk of non-infectious diseases and their risk factors are on the rise, Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said today.
He said the country now has an estimated 2.6 million adult Malaysians living with diabetes, 5.8 million with hypertension, 6.2 million with hypercholesterolaemia and 2.5 million with obesity.
“What is more worrying is that the proportion of those with undiagnosed NCD (non-communicable diseases) is on the increase,” Liow (picture) said, adding that four out of five deaths are related to non-transmittable diseases.
He said his ministry has since collaborated with various ministries to implement healthy eating guidelines in schools and the public sector to prevent and control NCD, which he blamed largely on lifestyle choices and eating habits.
“The Public Service Department issued an unprecedented circular entitled ‘Guideline on the Implementation of Healthy Eating in the Public Sector’,” Liow said today at the opening ceremony of the regional meeting on national multi-sectoral plans for NCD prevention and control here.
“We hope that this circular will set a precedent for other health-related guidelines in the public sector, such as the implementation of a ‘healthy cafeteria’, which is currently in the final stages of development,” he added.
Liow also said his ministry was in the process of developing a guideline on marketing food and beverages to children by the end of the year, which is to be implemented as a government-led self-regulation.
However, he said the guidelines only served as a guide and that it was ultimately up to the people if they choose to follow it or otherwise.
“There is still much that needs to be done to protect the health of our population and decrease their exposure to NCD risk factors,” he said, adding it was important to “obtain support of other ministries, government departments, the private sector, NGOs and civil society”.
“But we already know our goal: a 25 per cent reduction in premature NCD deaths by the year 2025.”