73% of deaths caused by hypertension, diabetes, heart problems

Ministry-of-HealthKOTA BHARU: The Ministry of Health (MOH) estimates that 73% of deaths among Malaysians are caused by non-communicable diseases.

MOH Disease Control Division deputy director Dr Omar Mihat said the non-communicable diseases were hypertension, diabetes and heart problems that were closely related to people’s unhealthy lifestyle.

“This includes bad smoking habit, unhealthy diet and lack of exercises that are often difficult to change. These non-communicable diseases are also detected among young people each year,” he told reporters after opening the National Adolescent Health Symposium here yesterday.

Dr Omar said a survey conducted in 2012 involving 25,507 youths in Malaysia revealed that only 22.8% of them were active, 19.1% were overweight and 7.9% were obese.

He said a study conducted by the Tobacco and E-cigarettes Survey Among Malaysian Adolescents (Tecma) in 2016 showed that the number of smokers among Malaysian adolescents had increased to 15.2% from 11.2% in 2012.

“More worrying, from a dental examination conducted last year, it was also found that smoking was detected among pupils in primary schools,” he said.

As such, Dr Omar stressed that various programmes and a holistic approach must be taken to empower efforts to raise public awareness on the importance to adopt healthy lifestyles, especially among adolescents.

He said continuous efforts should be implemented with the involvement of all parties, including the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Youth and Sports through programmes at the school level.

A healthy living environment and culture should be prioritised to produce a healthier generation in the future as well as to reduce government spending, he added.