This Spotlight story is sponsored by Ministry of the Health Malaysia.
Every October, the Ministry of Health (MOH) organises Bulan Malaysia Sihat Sejahtera (BMSS), an initiative to realise the government’s aspirations in nurturing a fit and happy Keluarga Malaysia by cultivating a healthier lifestyle
October also saw the celebration of World Mental Health Day (10 October), Hari Sukan Negara (7 to 9 October), World Walking Day (1 to 2 October), and Malaysia Environmental Day (21 October), all of which aim to promote a culture and environment that supports a healthier and fitter lifestyle.
This year, BMSS was launched by Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob on 8 October
From left to right: Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob
Image via @protecthealthco (Twitter)
To cater to the ever-changing needs and lifestyle of Malaysians, BMSS focused on health behaviour. This was done via a nationwide approach under the Agenda Nasional Malaysia Sihat (ANMS).
BMSS aspired to strengthen the partnership between strategic partners, where all parties, including MOH and ANMS, worked hand in hand to plan and execute programmes and activities. This was to cultivate a healthier lifestyle culture in a holistic and wider reach for the wellness of Keluarga Malaysia.
According to the National Health and Morbidity Study 2019 (NHMS 2019), health risks and the burden of diseases due to unhealthy lifestyle choices are significantly higher as compared to the numbers seen in the NHMS 2015 report
Image via MalayMail
NHMS 2019 also discovered that:
– 1 in 2 Malaysians are overweight and obese
– 1 in 4 Malaysians are physically inactive
– 1 in 20 Malaysians eat fruits and vegetables as prescribed
– Half a million adults in Malaysia suffer from depression
– 4.8 million Malaysians aged 15 and above are smokers
If this trend continues to rise, it will further complicate the endemic phase. In fact, these health risk factors have contributed to the rise of noncommunicable diseases, which are conditions that are not caused by an acute infection, result in long-term health consequences, and often create a need for long-term treatment and care. Examples include cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and chronic lung illnesses.
Here are the effects:
– 3.4 million Malaysians have at least two noncommunicable diseases
– 1.7 million Malaysians have all three noncommunicable diseases
– The government has lost RM9 billion in treating noncommunicable diseases
– In Malaysia, the main cause of death is cardiovascular disease
MOH also reported that 87% of COVID-19 death cases occur in patients that have at least one comorbidity, where another medical condition occurs due to the primary condition
Image via @rawpixel.com (Freepik)
According to research by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 2020, those with health risk factors or suffering from noncommunicable diseases are prone to severe complications if they were to get COVID-19.
Here are some of the complications for the following risk factors:
– Obese people are seven times more likely to contract serious infection complications
– Smokers are 1.5 times more likely to experience serious complications and a higher death rate
– Alcohol affects the body’s ability to fight infection
– Physical inactivity raises the risk of noncommunicable diseases which are risk factors for COVID-19
– Diabetic patients are three times more likely to experience serious complications
– Cardiovascular disease patients are 2.5 times more likely to experience serious complications
– People with chronic pulmonary disease (COPD) have a high risk of serious complications and a higher death rate
In fact, direct medical health costs and loss of productivity due to chronic disease in the country until 2017 have been estimated to be as much as RM22.53 billion
This amount is nearly 40% of the total cost of medical health.
MOH shared that it is estimated that by 2040, individuals aged 65 years old and above will rise to 14.5% of the total residents in Malaysia.
If Malaysians continue with unhealthy lifestyle choices, it is estimated they will live up to 9.5 years of their ageing lives in bad health conditions. MOH noted that with the current health system trajectory, Malaysia is not ready to face future challenges in providing adequate healthcare and social care.
To prevent this, MOH hopes that through BMSS, Malaysians were able to incorporate healthy and good habits into their lifestyle
Image via @tirachardz (Freepik)
These habits include partaking in physical activities, maintaining a nutritious diet, managing body weight, having a healthy mind, avoiding smoking and drinking, maintaining a clean and healthy environment, as well as going for personal health checks.
All of these habits are important foundations for a national health system that is shifting its focus to facilitating and supporting Keluarga Malaysia to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Image via BMSS
As such, for the whole month of October, MOH planned various activities as part of the BMSS celebration. Here’s a look at all of the activities:
Image via MOH (Provided to SAYS)
Click here to learn more about all of the activities!
Check out some of the highlights of BMSS:
1. Families looking to take part in an activity together joined the Langkah Sihat BMSS campaign, which ran until 31 October
Image via BMSS
Encouraging all Malaysians to take part, the campaign saw individuals and families going for brisk walks and recording their average steps on a pedometer on a daily and weekly basis.
This activity not only allowed communities and families to become fitter together, but also fostered closer relationships.
2. The Larian Kreatif campaign encouraged Malaysians to share their most creative running route to stand a chance to win cool prizes
Image via BMSS
All Malaysians aged 13 and above were welcome to participate in this campaign. They had to complete a run of at least 5km and share screenshots of their creative running route on social media in order to win.
3. Malaysians recorded themselves doing house chores in the Gerak Geri Sihat campaign to win up to RM5,000 Touch ‘n Go eWallet credits
Image via BMSS
As the trend of short-form videos such as TikTok and Instagram Reels continues, MOH took this opportunity to encourage Malaysians to be active by uploading a video of themselves doing their house chores creatively on TikTok.
Countless Malaysians have shared their creative videos on the social media platform. Just search the hashtag #sihatsepanjanghayat to watch the videos!
4. Malaysians shared how they led a healthy lifestyle on social media with the Satu, Dua, Sihat! campaign
Image via BMSS
In this campaign, Malaysians did a variety of things, from showcasing their healthy recipes to talking about their lifestyle throughout October. All submissions were judged by TikTok influencer, Mamat Got No Chill.
To find out more about BMSS and living a healthier lifestyle, you can head here or follow their Facebook and Instagram pages
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