Umno-Baru/BN politicians fail to understand the dangers of obesity.
A week ago, Kinabatangan MP, Bung Moktar Radin, said that the high rate of obesity in Malaysia showed that Malaysians are prosperous and well-fed.
Is he proud that we are known as obese? Fat? Gemuk? What about the health risks?
Malaysia is Asia’s most obese nation
Is Bung aware that in 2014, a study by the British medical journal, The Lancet, showed that Malaysia was Asia’s most obese nation. Around 49% of the women and 44% of men, are obese.
Deep fried food is extremely popular.
Obesity is the cause of many health problems. It is also linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, some cancers, snoring and sleep apnoea, gallstones, stress, anxiety, depression and infertility.
Around 3.6 million Malaysians have diabetes.
The drinks vendor adds extra sugar in your tea or kopi, on top of the sweetened condensed milk that he stirs into your hot beverage. If you tell him that you do not want sugar in your hot drink, he will look at you as if you are mad. He will say, “Nanti “tak manis”.
The Lancet study said that the condition has been worsening in the continent in the past few years. Although South Korea, Pakistan and China also have high levels of obesity, it seems that Malaysia recorded the highest levels of obese people.
Obesity in Malaysia has reached epidemic proportions.
Last year, The New York Times reported on corporate money influencing nutrition science. This unhealthy link between scientists and nutritionists needing cooperation and financial support from companies, which can supply much-needed resources, is extremely disturbing, as funding from governments is lacking. So, how reliable is the final message from the same companies which produce the processed foods, for our consumption?
Prosperous and well-fed politicians
Look around you. Many Malaysians smoke. Most of us lead a sedentary lifestyle. We prefer to drive from door to door, instead of taking public transport. People living in two of three storey flats prefer to take the lift rather than the stairs. We consciously avoid healthy food choices.
Another reason is that carbohydrates and sugary foods are cheaper than protein and fresh produce. Meat and fish are expensive.
What is with the privileged class? Five years ago, the self-styled “First Lady of Malaysia” FLOM, suggested that the success of the Roti 1Malaysia Charity Programme, which distributes fresh bread and pastries to the underprivileged in the Klang Valley, should include croissants. She said, “Make sure the bread and the croissants reach the children because I don’t think our children from the Permata centres have tasted croissants.
“So, please give them a chance to taste croissants not only children in homes, but also in the Permata centres.” She claimed that the Roti 1Malaysia programme agreed with the Government’s objective in developing a caring society.
Surely, the nutrition of deprived children can be improved by more wholesome methods.
Last month, her husband, Najib Abdul Razak was criticised for preferring the expensive, protein packed, healthy pseudo-cereal, quinoa, instead of the more affordable rice, which has been the staple of Malaysians for centuries.
Does Bung ever read UNICEF reports? On 26 February, Marianne Clark-Hattingh, UNICEF representative in Malaysia, released a new study, called, “Children Without: A study of urban child poverty and deprivation in low-cost flats in Kuala Lumpur”.
She said, “Malaysia has made tremendous progress over the last thirty years, in eliminating poverty. What this study shows, however, is that not everyone has benefited equally and that some, notably children, are being left behind.”
There were higher levels of poverty and malnutrition among children living in low-cost housing in Kuala Lumpur, compared to the national average.
Poverty had impaired the opportunities of children living in low-cost flats in Kuala Lumpur to early education and made them more vulnerable to malnourishment, with potentially damaging impact on their cognitive development.
Does Bung know that obese people and the condition of their health puts a strain on our medical facilities.
When people fall ill, or have serious illnesses, it also puts a strain on the economy as productivity is lowered, people have to take time off work.
Would he care to commission a study to find out how many children are obese, in towns, in the deprived areas of KL, in rural areas, and throughout the nation?
He will have attended government seminars, where food is on offer either before or after the talk. Do we need to feed the participants and waste taxpayer’s money like this?
Prosperous, well-fed Umno-Baru/BN politicians have become more ignorant at a faster rate than the increase in their girth and bank balance; but we are expected to tighten our belts.
Education will tackle many issues regarding obesity.
Do the right thing in GE-14.