Ways to a healthy life

We should make it a habit to monitor our health, eat the right food, avoid sedentary behaviour, exercise regularly and avoid excessive stress.

Everyone seems to crave a healthy life, but not everyone knows how to get it. It is no longer news that the trend in the major cause of death worldwide has shifted from communicable (infectious) diseases to non-communicable (chronic) diseases. The leading examples of chronic diseases are heart disease, cancer, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and diabetes. Unfortunately, non-communicable diseases are silent diseases, therefore there are always high proportions of individuals with undiagnosed risk factors. Chronic diseases impose substantial and grave economic burdens, not only on households but also the economy. While not disputing the contribution of our genetic make-up and other environmental factors to this menace, our lifestyle is significantly responsible as the main culprit. The risks of chronic diseases increase with age. It is worthy to note that children are not exempted, but rather vulnerable to the risk of chronic diseases. Though we cannot change our age, sex or race, the good news is that lifestyle factors are generally modifiable, meaning that we can change or modify our lifestyles for a better life, and more importantly, reduce the relative and absolute risks associated with chronic diseases. Paradoxically, lifestyle modification and adherence to the recommended lifestyle changes are difficult. It is always easier said than done. The reason is simply that most people have become addicted to unhealthy lifestyles such as smoking, alcohol consumption, sedentary behaviour as well as bad dietary habits like consumption of high-cholesterol and high-fructose diets, to mention but a few. Research and health reports, globally and locally, are consistently consentient to the fact that the panacea and cornerstones of chronic disease prevention and management are healthy lifestyles such as weight management, healthy diet and exercise. I would like to quote Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, who said, “Malaysians in general have yet to practise a healthy lifestyle.” He added, “Only 40% of Malaysians adopt a healthy lifestyle by making sports a culture.”

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