PUTRAJAYA: Four out of five teenagers in the country are physically inactive, says Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa.
In addition, two out of three teenagers practise fitness activities at a sedentary level, she said in the Suara Menteri slot broadcast in conjunction with the Health Promotion in Learning Institutions (Hepili) Programme 2023 virtual assembly on Wednesday.
“More and more of our teenagers are not active. So, why wait, let’s start now. Exercise every day. Only 30 minutes, five times a week. Easy, isn’t it?,” she said, Bernama reported.
Dr Zaliha, in the virtual assembly themed “We want to live healthy”, said that despite being a busy person, it did not stop her from doing daily exercises to take care of her health.
Also giving speeches were Communications and Digital Minister Fahmi Fadzil, Youth and Sports Minister Hannah Yeoh and Education Minister Fadhlina Sidek.
In his speech, Fahmi encouraged the public to do stretching known as X-break, which is a physical activity performed within three to five minutes after sitting for a long time or more than two hours.
Meanwhile, Yeoh said that at a young age an individual needs to be active to build endurance and character, while Fadhlina said hot weather is not an excuse not to exercise as it can be done indoors.
The virtual assembly was attended by approximately 548,000 participants from all over the country.
The National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2022 has shown a rising prevalence of obesity, physical inactivity, sedentary behaviour, poor dietary choices and excessive consumption of carbonated soft drinks and fast food among Malaysian adolescents aged 13 to 17 years.
The survey stated that four in five adolescents are physically inactive, with two in three adolescents leading predominantly sedentary lifestyles.
The NHMS 2022 also revealed that four in five adolescents do not consume an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables.
The lack of nutrients in their diet can stunt their growth and development, and compromise their immune system, making the teenagers more prone to illnesses.
Separately, Dr Zaliha said they would launch the Madani Afiat programme, a platform to disseminate basic disease prevention information and health promotion programmes to the people, on July 9 in Gombak.
She said Selangor was chosen as the launch venue because the state government had successfully implemented various health initiatives for its people.
“Many initiatives have been carried out by the Selangor government; for example, the Madani medical scheme,” she said when appearing as a guest in the radio programme Bicara Khas, produced by SelangorFM.
Dr Zaliha said the Madani Afiat programme would include health exhibitions, as well as health screening and anti-dengue campaigns.
“We want the community to have the awareness to undergo health screening for early diagnosis of diseases and to avoid complications,” she said.