PETALING JAYA: The majority of teenagers are not physically active because of a lack of public sporting facilities, according to former deputy youth and sports minister Ti Lian Ker.
“It has now become a normal thing that many open spaces meant for public sports are being sold off by local councils to developers for profit,” he said.
“Additionally, local governments do not get enough money to maintain the areas that are left,” he said.
Ti said the lack of public sporting facilities has contributed to many teenagers, especially from B40 families, choosing less physically engaging lifestyles.
He urged the government to provide more funding for non-competitive sports, as a way to foster healthier lifestyles and to cut the cost of healthcare.
“The government must take sports seriously, including activities that are just for pleasure, to cultivate a better lifestyle and reduce the cost of maintaining the nation’s health,” he told FMT.
Ti’s comments come after health minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa released statistics showing that four out of five teenagers are physically inactive, while only two of every three are somewhat active, but at a sedentary level.
Ti said most people overlook living active lifestyles because they do not see the immediate benefit, despite it being important to their health.
Malaysia’s former 400m hurdles specialist Noraseela Khalid said a passive lifestyle is a national problem that needs urgent attention.
“Physical fitness must start at home, through taking part in communal activities like marathons and games.
“When families take part in these activities together, they build a culture which can contribute to a big change (in later life),” she said.
Noraseela also said teenagers should avoid eating fast processed foods, noting that junk food hampers progress to living a healthy life.