PETALING JAYA: The education ministry will begin conducting body mass index (BMI) checks on school children aged five to nine to curb the national obesity problem.
According to education director-general Nor Zamani Abdol Hamid, the BMI 5-9T programme aims to address the issue of obesity among school children from as young as five.
“The programme will also spread awareness among students about the importance of having an ideal body composition and doing fitness activities as well as practising healthy eating for personal well-being,” she said in a circular sighted by FMT.
Nor Zamani said the programme would begin with a test to measure the height and weight of the students to obtain their BMI scores, followed by the implementation of physical activity and healthy eating practices.
“The implementation of BMI 5-9T will start on the first day of the 2022/2023 academic calendar and will be conducted twice a year,” she said.
The ministry is making it compulsory for those in preschool, government primary schools and government and private kindergartens to undergo this programme.
“Students with special needs, except those who need maximum support, are also obligated to be tested under the BMI 5-9T,” the circular added.
The ministry would refer to the standard handbook for measuring BMI issued by the curriculum development division last year, Nor Zamani said, adding that the programme would be held during the time for integrated learning and outdoor activities, and during physical education class.
“The first test will be conducted in the third month of the school session based on the academic calendar and the second will be five months later.”
In conjunction with World Obesity Day on March 4 last year, an article on the Universiti Malaya website reported that Malaysia has the highest prevalence of obesity among adults in Southeast Asia.
Referring to the 2019 National Health and Morbidity Survey, the article shared that 50.1% of our adult population were reported to be overweight (30.4%) or obese (19.7%).