PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) has urged the government to educate children on the importance of healthy habits to encourage healthy living among citizens.
MMA president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai said that education in healthy habits is crucial to prevent any further increase in cases of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) as they can impact the country’s productivity and increase healthcare costs.
“We need to start thinking of the health of the younger generation and stop NCDs early before they happen,” Muruga said in a statement.
MMA called on the education and health ministries to join forces in formulating a comprehensive policy to educate children on the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle to prevent diseases.
Muruga said a comprehensive policy must include the promotion of healthy eating habits, active living and health education.
“Of course, for a successful outcome, parents have the most important role to play in supporting their children’s healthy development. Therefore, we urge the government to also consider including programmes or activities that can involve parents.”
He said it was important to cultivate healthy habits among children to ensure such habits are carried into adulthood and ingrain health-conscious lifestyles.
According to the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2019, 14.8% of children aged between five and 17 were found to be obese, a significant increase from 6.1% reported in 2011.
Based on the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2015, 1.65 million Malaysian schoolchildren were expected to be overweight or obese by 2025.