MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Obesity is not the Mamak’s doing: Fine-tune MOH’s health campaign to encourage healthy eating


Letter to editor

RECENTLY, the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) made a call to the government to stop 24-hour eateries from operating.

CAP says that such outlets were contributing to unhealthy eating habits among Malaysians and thus resulted in more getting obese and overweight.

In my opinion, CAP is totally on the wrong tangent.

Firstly, there is no evidence whatsoever to suggest that such eateries or restaurants were directly or indirectly contributing to the growing rate of obesity and ill health among its patrons.

Obesity and overweight are neither about where one chooses to dine or at what time to eat. It all boils down to the quantity consumed by a person.

The problem is that Malaysians are generally consuming more than what the body really needs on a daily basis. They are absorbing far more calories than what is “burned” by the body.

In simple terms, foods provide fuel for bodily functions. The daily requirements are very dependent on the needs.

Source: National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2022

If one is more physically active, the person needs more calories in comparison to another who may have a more sedentary or physically lazy lifestyle.

The rule is to consume the amount of calories to meet our basic bodily functions and a surplus corresponding to physical activities.

Unfortunately, many people consume far more calories in excess. This excess comes from any food or drinks regardless if it is consumed in a 24-hour restaurant or a six-star rated fine dining outlet.

Hazards of overeating

The excess calories are then stored as “fats”, thus their cumulative effect eventually shows as obesity/overweight.

Unlike your bank balance where excess brings benefits, excess bodily fats have great potential of bringing harm to your bodily systems.

And mind you, it’s not much dependent on the type of food one eats but more so on how much is taken in daily.

Learn to count your calories above knowing what’s healthier than the other. Indeed, the Health Minister got it all wrong when he said that CAP’s recommendation needs to be fine-tuned.

There is nothing to fine-tune. What’s fundamentally more important is for the Health Ministry (MOH) to fine-tune its health campaigns.

Millions have been poured into their campaigns but unfortunately, we as a nation still boast having one of the highest obesity and overweight problems in the region.

This is costing the taxpayers directly or indirectly as the chain reaction has increased the number of people suffering from non-communicable diseases.

CAP seems to be barking up the wrong tree. Let people choose where, what and when to eat.

What’s more important is for them to be made aware that anything consumed in excess can bring harm eventually.

Educate the public and not impose irrelevant rules and laws with the hope that it can curb a health issue.– April 30, 2024


Narinder Pal Singh
Shah Alam

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of MMKtT.

- Focus Malaysia

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