Health Ministry to review effectiveness of healthy lifestyle campaign

It appears that Malaysians are increasingly eating the wrong thing, if recent indications on the rising incidence of heart disease are anything to go by.

It is understood that the outcome of the national morbidity and mortality survey is expected to point in this direction.

Deputy Director-General of Health Datuk Dr Noorimi Morad said the Health Ministry would be reviewing its healthy lifestyle campaign to gauge its effectiveness.

“The review will be aimed at ascertaining if the campaign has been successful,’ she told the New Straits Times yesterday.

She had earlier opened the Malaysian Dieticians Association Scientific Conference 2007. She said the review would help the ministry focus on critical areas that needed attention.

She said Malaysians had to watch they ate or risk falling into the high-risk health bracket.

“We want a healthy population. That is why we keep stressing healthy eating. We are what we eat,” she said.

Dr Noorimi said World Health Organisation health statistics showed that food and diet contributed substantially to the health of people.

The WHO has also stated that developed societies reported a higher incidence of chronic diseases.

She said Malaysians suffering from diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol were costing the government RM300 million a year.

Statistics showed that one in three Malaysians aged 30 and above suffered from hypertension.

Three million people have high cholesterol and another 2.1 million have diabetes.

Dr Noorimi said all these conditions related to poor food and dietary habits.

The healthy lifestyle campaign was launched in 1991 with the first five years focusing on diseases. The second phase from 1997 to 2002 shifted attention towards targeting behavioural changes.

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