(File pix) A balanced variety in food is part of a healthy lifestyle.

KUALA LUMPUR: The number of patients aged between 18 to 40 years old in hospitals have doubled in the past four years.

Health Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. S. Subramaniam, said the rate of chronic diseases among young people were alarming with 33 per cent of the age group with Hypercholesterolemia or high cholesterol in blood.

According to the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2015, more than one million (9.2per cent) of those in the age group have diabetes, 1.7 million (14.7 per cent) with hypertension and 14 per cent of them are obese, he said.

“The research had also shown that the number increases every year and few of the main reasons of this were due to unhealthy lifestyle, food intake, and lack of exercise,” he said answering question from Datin Mastura Mohd Yazid (BN-Kuala Kangsar) at Dewan Rakyat.

“This is due to the changes in lifestyle among people. Most Malaysians have the habit of overeating unhealthy food.

“Besides that, with the changes that comes along in the rapid technological era, most of them spend more time in front of the camera and this had brought greater risk to the people,” he said.

Subramaniam said the ministry along with government agencies have conducted many initiatives to address the issue and among them was the introduction of the segmentation of food to two quarters and one half (suku, suku, separuh) to ensure a balanced variety in food items.

“This is a very simple message by the ministry to help people eat healthily. The awareness exist among our people, but there is a lack of practice for them to bring about changes in their lives,” he said.

Meanwhile, in a supplementary question from Datuk Dr Nik Mazian Nik Mohamad (Pas- Pasir Puteh) on substance abuse, Subramaniam said the ministry does consider diseases due to substance abuse among the young generation as a chronic disease.

“A drastic change exist among the current generation when it comes to substance abuse as now most of them are using synthetic drugs. Most of them are under the drug influence of amphetamine and syntethic drugs. This brings irreversible damage to the brain with permanent structural changes,” he said.

He added that the ministry is working along with the Home Ministry and Malaysian Drug Prevention Association to curb the problem through rehabilitation centers and non-institutionalised program.

“The programmes conducted must be done holistically to have a successful conclusion. This is not only for a former drug-addict to live harmoniously in the community but also for the community to accept them as one,” he said. -- Reporting by Arfa Yunus, Fernando Fong and Beatrice Nita Jay

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