UPDATE [4 Apr 2016]: Walao guess what ugaiz! Putrajaya tops the list with the highest rate of overweight and obese people in the country. According to the 2015 National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS), Putrajaya people have a 37% chance of being overweight and a 43% chance of being obese.
Meanwhile, we know one guy who does not have an obesity problem… Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin! He just finished the Ironman Putrajaya event on 3rd Apr.
In KL Coconuts’s news yesterday, Alor Setar Hospital in Kedah had problems moving one of their patients into a ward for treatment, so they called in the Fire and Rescue Department to help! But no, the patient wasn’t stuck up a tree or anything – he was too obese to be moved. Sending out a fire engine and six firefighters, the team used a stretcher to carefully transport the 300kg man to the ward.
Great job Bomba guys! (omg don’t even get us started on their calendars ugaiz 😎 ) Anyway, the story pointed out a very relevant issue in Malaysia today and that’s…….obesity. Did you know Malaysia is the FATTEST country in Asia? Statistically, nearly HALF the population (of 30 million people) are overweight and obese, revealed the Health Ministry.
How come so many Malaysians are obese? We all already know the reasons lahhh (eat nonstop, no exercise, etc.) but lets also see which country we can copy to fix it. Here are 5 things.
1. Malaysian sugar & oil too cheap so we use it like mad in our food
Take nasi lemak for example, it can reach 644 calories (same as three bowls of plain white rice). Tambah a piece of fried chicken (290 calories) and teh tarik (83 calories), that’s a total of 1017 calories in ONE meal alone. In reality the recommended calorie intake for women is 1,500 and men is 2,000, so Malaysian adults are consuming 500-700 calories extra every day reported the Health Ministry. Uhhh-ohhhh!
Not to mention we’re among the world’s top sugar consumers, so we’re also seeing the rise of diabetes, which is estimated to hit 1 in 5 adults by 2020. The reason is because previously we used to heavily subsidise sugar by 34 sen per kg of sugar. Then in 2012, the government cut the subsidy by 20 sen per kg to compel the rakyat to consume less of it. Yeah, this trend of ‘rich man disease’ shows that we can afford good food now, but man that cannot be what Mahathir had in mind for Wawasan 2020.
SOLUTION: Copy Singapore. Why? Coz Singapore was named the world’s healthiest country based on data from the UN, World Bank and World Health Organisation. Well that’s not fair, their copycat food pales in comparison to Malaysian food so duhhh they don’t stuff themselves as much we do.
We jokes, we jokes. Copy Mexico. Mexico recently implemented a soda tax in 2014 and they’re already counting the success coz purchasing dropped by 12%. It has reduced the average calorie intake by six calories per day, according to the British Soft Drinks Association. Doesn’t sound like a lot, but hey sikit-sikit, lama-lama jadi bukit. Also…
Copy Chad or Mali (they’re not a couple btw). African countries are found to have the healthiest diets in the world because they eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. On the opposite end are European countries Belgium, Latvia and Hungary that have the worst diets. We know we overuse this GIF ugaiz but:
2. The only exercise we do is go out and buy MOAR kuih
PROBLEM: When we were kids, we used to be able to do anything. Run, jump, fly, you name it. Now we turn our necks oni can hear the hinges creaking. Sigh, how many times have we given ourselves this excuse? The key to losing weight is EXERCISE because it gets your heart pumping to burn calories and build muscles. Dieting is only half the battle. And this discipline needs to start from young:
“If we educate the 10-year-olds and 11-year-olds now, they will become adults later on and 20 years later they will be healthier adults. Less obese, less overweight and healthier Malaysians.” – E-Siong Tee, President of the Malaysia Nutrition Society, Al-Jazeera
More specifically, it should start before they’re 10 years old because at this point, their activity levels begin to slow down by 50%. And we’re not talking about letting them run wild in a restaurant…
SOLUTION: Copy China. You know China has a reputation for torturing kids in Olympics training right? Not that we suggest going that far, but for starters we could stop feeding kids at National Service 6 times a day!! Yup, some kids who went for NS put on weight rather than the other way round.
Additionally, maybe we should revamp the PJ syllabus and really teach kids proper routine exercise. From experience, PJ was more like free period where students either played football or did homework. If anyone from the Education Ministry is reading this, check out tips and programs online to resuscitate the sad PJ scene in schools. Also, check out the how much time each country allocates for Phys Ed in school:
Wahh, Malaysian kids spend the third least amount of time exercising after Bhutan and Afghanistan. And it’s not like Bhutan needs it, walk to school can lose 10 kilos every day, look:
Meanwhile, Bangladesh spends 180 minutes a week on PE, Japan 125-150 mins, and China 105-135 mins. According to Mayo Clinic, the recommended amount of exercise time for a healthy adult is 75 mins of vigorous, or 150 mins of moderate exercise A WEEK. This article was written by Dr. Edward Laskowski from the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
3. Everywhere also drive car, how bout cycling instead?
PROBLEM: Okok, we know, Malaysian public transport stinks. People always complain about how unreliable the services are, now summore fare naik harga dy, no wonder we prefer to drive. Comes as no surprise that Malaysia has the third highest car ownership in the world and in worse news, KLites spend 250 million hours stuck in jam a year according to World Bank data.
We also don’t have a cycling culture here. In Malaysia, town planning is more focused on cars and roads than pedestrian areas. Our own writer Hans who’s from Melaka said though they allocate “bicycle lanes” there, it’s more like they just painted yellow lines at the edge of the main roads, so people end up not using them. You know what they say… the road to heaven is narrow.
SOLUTION: Copy Netherlands & Greece. Oil shortages in the 70s brought about a cycling craze in the Netherlands after their government began restricting motor vehicles. Today, cycling accounts for 27% of all trips nationwide and 59% of trips within cities. Almost 40% of the population either walk to cycle to work daily. Similarly, as Greece sank deeper into debt, people went with the gas-free option and nowhere in Europe is there a more pronounced gap between bike and car sales than Greece.
Perhaps now Malaysian infrastructure could focus more on pedestrian areas. Build more bicycle lanes and safer ones too, like the Netherlands. They must be clearly signposted, well-maintained and well-lit, with road path junctions that give priority to cyclists. Conflicts between different transport is eliminated wherever possible or reduced, for example, limiting car access and carparks.
This is going out on a limb here, but since we’re building the MRT, how about elevated walking lanes too? Something like FRIM’s canopy walk, only with more roof and air-cond, less insects:
Ok seriously though, if the Town Planning guys could just build more jejantas, we’re sure crossing roads will be much, much safer.
4. Our jobs so cushy compared to foreign workers’ labour
PROBLEM: The Health Ministry said Malaysians are leading sedentary lives and their jobs do not involve much activity. A study showed three out of four Malaysians are sedentary and primarily doing mental work. Shockingly, even our COPS are overweight!
When got leisure time Malaysians would rather spend time in front of our phones and TV, playing games, eating, idling or reading. What we need, is a suddentary change. Instead of depending on so many foreign workers, Deputy PM Zahid Hamidi said take over their jobs. That would solve two issues – the glut of foreign workers (there are 2.7 million legal workers here), plus we get a good workout.
SOLUTION: Copy Bangladesh. They are truly the fittest guys on Earth due to their country’s primary industries, planting rice, jute, maize and vegetables, shipbuilding, textiles, and recently, gas and coal mining. So naturally when they came to Malaysia, they mostly joined construction, making them the second-largest group behind Indonesians in this sector.
Foreign workers do all the 3D jobs we don’t wanna do – dirty, dangerous and demeaning. One of the reasons we don’t wanna do it is because of our pride and the pay. But you know, all the physical labour they’re doing really helps them keep fit. As for the pay issue, PKR Youth vice-chief Fahmi Fadzil said if the gomen increased minimum wage to RM1,500, these jobs might become more attractive to Malaysians.
Okok, we know your parents didn’t pay a RM100k degree for you to collect garbage, and the starting salaries for fresh grads in this country, RM2,100 to RM2,500, is Tony Starkly higher than even the suggested minimum wage of RM1,500. But think about this for a minute…200,000 students graduate from higher learning institutions every year. 1 out of 4 of them remain unemployed 6 months after graduation. Instead of wasting 6 months, they could have tried out some of these jobs while applying for the companies they really want. Just saying.
One thought we had was maybe there could be a training programme initiated by the government, where fresh grads can be signed up in batches to work in the five formal sectors mostly dominated by foreign workers right now: construction, agriculture, plantation, factories and services.
Copy the US. In recent times, like the past two to five years, there’s been a rising trend of workplace wellness, especially among US companies. About 79% of US companies promote healthy activities for their employees, including weight management programs, medical screenings, on-site fitness facilities, etc.
Global survey ‘Working Well’ revealed that physical activity and exercise is the No. 1 health concern that drove US companies to implement wellness programs. And they’re right to be worried considering the country is one of the top in obesity with two-thirds of adults being overweight or obese. Check out this list of Fortune 100 companies and their fitness programs. Fortune 100 is 100 of the largest public and privately-held companies in the United States.
Perhaps its time Malaysian bosses start pushing their employees outside of work too? 😉
5. Malaysians watch too much YouTube… but not for workout videos
PROBLEM: Gym memberships are NOT CHEAP wei! They can cost up to RM200 per month, plus initiation fees, incremental price hikes, and extra charges for personal training may jack it up to RM2,500 to RM3,000. Siow ar?! Fresh grads in Malaysia don’t even earn that much. Who knew it costs that much to look like Gerard Butler in 300 and with our inconsistent habits where we sometimes make excuses skip one day, we’ll most likely burn a hole in our wallets than burn fat.
SOLUTION: Copy YouTubers. Sorry, YouTube is not a country, we cheatz, but seeing as how Malaysians are already champions at watching YouTube, that’s a perfect formula! According to a Google Survey, we spend double the time watching YouTube more than any other nation on earth at 80 minutes a day vs the global average of 40 minutes.
Except there’s one lil’ problem… We’re prolly watching more stuff that encourage sedentary lifestyles than active ones. Google Malaysia and TNS Research collaborated to find which videos are most popular among Malaysians and the results are music, movies and ‘how to fix’ shows. Alaaa, instead of watching those, turn on Jillian Michaels yo.
There are so many fitness channels on YouTube and you can even narrow your searches to target specific areas of your body. Want cardio? Click here. Want to lift and tone your booty? Click here. Or prefer something more dance-y? Click here. Oooh and don’t forget leg day, click here.
Malaysia Boleh…… LOSE WEIGHTTTT!
Now we have internet so the fitness world is our oyster. There are endless resources online on how to lose weight – whether it’s food related, exercise related, sleep related or whatever.
Also we can find so many inspiring stories online of how real Malaysians get into shape like this guy who lost 20kg in 3 months. Remember we were talking about overweight Malaysian cops? Well great news is 35 police officers joined up the Trim N Fit programme, a pilot project which aims to combat obesity in the police force. And 15% of them have gone from obese to overweight, with some losing up to 8kg in one month.
C’mon ugaiz wekandowit! Kipidap, dongibap, stop eating karipap.