PUTRAJAYA,. The Health Ministry has made reducing non-communicable diseases (NCD) in the country its 2019 resolution as it seeks to keep Malaysia’s fitness levels from sliding further compared to regional peers.
Datuk Seri Dzulkefly Ahmad said his ministry is focusing its efforts on lowering the risk factors related to NCDs, such as smoking, hypertension, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol), and obesity.
“Reducing NCDs is my biggest challenge but we have started by looking at a few risk factors. Right now we want to find out where or how we went wrong from an implementation and execution stage.
“Other nations in the region have reported better results than us while we have plateaued. We need to know what made others zoom past us and why we are left behind,” he said.
He referred to a study conducted by Harvard University and the Malaysia Health System Research (MHSR).
The study revealed that from 2006 to 2015, diabetes for those aged 18 and older increased from 11.6 per cent to 17.5 per cent.
While national hypertension statistics dropped from 37.7 per cent to 30.3 per cent within the same time period, Malaysia’s rate was slow compared to other countries in South-east Asia.
At the same time, the figures for hypercholesterolemia doubled to 47.7 per cent from 22.9 per cent.
“Malaysia also suffers from an overweight problem among Asian nations. It is estimated that the diabetes patients will double from 3.5 million in 2015 to 7 million people in 2025 if no effective measures are taken,” said Dzulkefly.