PETALING JAYA - Malaysian workers need to be disciplined about improving their dietary patterns and consume balanced meals. They also need to do more physical activity.
That is the advice of Nutrition Society of Malaysia president Dr Tee E. Siong.
He also urged more employees to undergo annual health screening to help identify high risk health factors such as heart disease and hypertension. "It is extremely important to identify individuals with high risk factors so remedial action can be taken early enough to reverse these conditions.
"Before a hypertensive worker gets a stroke, before a worker with high blood cholesterol gets a heart attack, regular screening must be in place," said Dr Tee.
He added that workers need to empower themselves with the knowledge of healthy eating while suggesting that companies employ nutritionists to provide in-house advice for employees.
"The nutritionist can also play a key role in looking into the foods sold in the office canteens.
"This requires some amount of adjustment and investment by the companies but is certainly a worthwhile effort in the long run.
"I would think it is a mandatory requirement for large corporations," said Dr Tee.
Apart from balanced meals, Dr Tee also pointed out that physical activities were vital too.
"Malaysians are generally a sedentary lot. Companies can play a vital role in encouraging workers to be physically active," he said.
Dr Tee also suggested that companies encourage employees to use the staircase instead of the lifts for two or three floors or walking to see colleagues instead of using the phone.
Malaysian Integrated Medical Professionals Association (Mimpa) president Dr S. Dhesi Baha Raja meanwhile said the present lifestyle and culture were among the reasons why non-communicable diseases (NCD) are on the rise.
"In some cultures, the food is sweet so people from that community tend to eat a lot of sweet things.
"In order to tackle NCD, we need to have behavioural change and this can only happen through education and upbringing.
"However, it's not too late. One can change their lifestyle by engaging in activities and getting regular health check ups," he said.