KLANG: Nutritionists will be sent to schools nationwide to hold nutrition talks and classes with Parent-Teacher Associations (PTA) to enlighten parents on the importance of healthy eating in childhood.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam said the programme, “Awareness on Health Eating with PTA”, organised in collaboration with the Education Ministry, aims to educate parents and promote a healthy eating lifestyle.
This, he said, would help bring down the number of overweight and obese children in the country, as well as prevent non-communicable diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
“I have asked the ministry’s nutrition department to organise classes with PTAs, especially with mothers because they play a crucial role and have a greater influence in selecting the choice of foods and drinks for their children.
“Hence, if they are well informed on the proper diet required for children, on the amount of fruits, vegetables, proteins and carbohydrates to take per meal and so forth, it will help create a healthy society.
“Parents sometimes treat their children to fast food as a reward for an achievement. This, in the long run, will become a culture in the family and the child will associate success to fast food.
“Therefore, if parents have the information needed, it will help them make better choices when it comes to food preparation or eating out,” he said, adding that the programme, which started early this year will be expanded to schools nationwide in due time.
Dr Subramaniam told reporters this after launching a health campaign, the Kem Nak Sihat “Bersama Komuniti Kekal Sihat” (Creating a healthy community together) here today.
The Kem Nak Sihat is an initiative by the Health Ministry to increase awareness on the need to practice a healthy lifestyle by eating right and exercising. It will be conducted nationwide.
This year’s Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) results saw the inclusion of Body Mass Index (BMI) component in the Primary School Assessment Report (PPSR).
It was revealed that more than 50,000 Year Six pupils nationwide are obese.
The results showed that a total of 268,314 (63.4 per cent) students recorded normal BMI; 56,584 (13.4) students are at risk of being obese; 58,294 (13.8 per cent) students are obese; and 40,347 (9.5 per cent) students underweight.
For the National Physical Fitness Standard, 40,957 (9.5 per cent) candidates recorded 'very high' fitness levels and 168,101 (38.8 per cent) candidates recorded high fitness levels. The other 189,929 (43.9 per cent) candidates recorded fit fitness levels and 3,644 (0.8 per cent) candidates recorded unfit fitness levels.
Malaysia’s National Health and Morbidity Survey 2015 found that 17.5 per cent of those aged 18 and above, or 17.5 per cent of the 3.5 million total, have diabetes.
In addition, one in three (30 per cent) or about 6.1 million people have hypertension. Almost half of the population (47.7 per cent) or about 9.6 million people have high blood cholesterol levels.
It also showed that the prevalence of obesity was on the increase with about 17.7 per cent (3.3 million) adults being obese, and about one out of three being overweight.