Adopt a healthier lifestyle, public told

National 2 minutes, 30 seconds


THE Ministry of Health (MoH) is calling out members of the public to adopt a healthier lifestyle after a national survey conducted five years ago showed 70 per cent of Bruneian adults to be suffering from cholesterol, while 61 per cent were overweight and obese.

During a conference with the media yesterday at MoH’s building, Medical Superintendent of the Public Health at MoH, Dr Justin Wong Yun Yaw said fast action is needed on all levels of society as rates of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and obesity continues to grow in Brunei.

 According to figures obtained from the Health Ministry yesterday, results from National Health and Nutrition Status Survey from 2011 showed more than 30 per cent of the Brunei adult population suffer from high blood pressure, while 12.4 per cent of adults are suffering from diabetes.

 Wong said despite the Health Ministry’s actions, Brunei continues to see increasing numbers of individuals becoming obese.

In light of the recent report released by the Global Nutrition Report 2016, Wong said while MoH is committed in tackling NCDs including obesity, the ministry cannot do it alone, urging Bruneians to play a more vital role in promoting healthier lifestyles.

According to the global Nutrition Report 2016, Brunei is the highest-ranked country for obesity and diabetes prevalence in adults among ASEAN countries.

 Globally, Brunei is placed 56 out of the 190 countries surveyed, found to be most prevalent to diabetes, while ranked 111th most obese country out of the 190 countries.

“There’s a big challenge that we have to face and MoH cannot do it alone, what we are asking is a call for action for the whole society to work together (in fighting against obesity),” said Wong.

 MoH in a press statement said inactive lifestyle combined with excessive intake of foods high in sugars and saturated fats are the causes of the obesity epidemic.

 The health official said MoH is actively working together with their partners in addressing the challenges of unhealthy lifestyles through various frameworks including the Brunei Darussalam National Multi-sectoral Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs (BruMAP-NCD 2013-2018) - a plan launched by the MoH in 2013 in a bid to combat NCDs.

“This issue of having 61 per cent rate of obesity is not the responsibility of the health ministry alone, we will support the nation endeavour to combat NCDs, and we will support patients who are overweight and want to reduce obesity, but we cannot do this job alone, we require the assistance of all,” he said, adding that a whole of nation approach is needed to tackle the issue.

 Wong said MoH is currently relying on the data from 2011 Nutrition Status Survey, as this was the latest nationwide survey being done.

 “This is the most recent data that we have (2011 Nutrition Status Survey) and we don’t expect the prevalence of obesity to have changed (over the period),” he said.

 Also present yesterday was MoH’s Permanent Secretary, Hj Zakaria Hj Serudin and Deputy Permanent Secretary at MoH, Dr Hazri Hj Kifle.

The Brunei Times