Malaysians are an overweight society. In 2013, Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya stated that there were about three million obese Malaysians and that number seems to be increasing at an alarming rate. We are a nation that has been ranked as the most obese in South East Asia. So how did we reach to this state? Let us take a look at 8 reasons why Malaysians are overweight.
1) Too Many Sweet Drinks
In Western countries, the common sweet drinks are Cola drinks and Energy drinks that are just loaded with carbohydrates and sugar. In Malaysia, not only are these drinks present, but our local drinks are also rich in sugar. Teh Tarik, Sirap Bandung, Kopi Ice and Milo are some of our favourites drinks that has enough sugar to cause a massive spike in your blood sugar levels!
2) Lack of Sleep
In our culture whereby working adults are becoming workaholics and school children are addicted to online games, we are sacrificing precious sleep. Precious sleep that the body needs to repair and regulate itself. To make matters worse, we are consuming more calories just to force ourselves to stay awake.
3) Unhealthy Breakfast
What is worse than not having breakfast? Eating unhealthy breakfast. Stop outside any LRT or KTM stations and you will see the working class buying packets of Nasi Lemak and Kuih as their breakfast fuel. Those have way too many calories and fats, which will contribute to an expanding waist.
4) Carb-Rich Malaysian Cuisine
Our local Cuisine has way too many carbohydrates than our body requires. Staples such as Nasi Lemak, Char Kuey Teow, Mee Bandung and Cendol are filled with Carbohydrates and sugar. This will not only cause the mid-day energy slump, but contribute to your weight increase.
5) Too Many Festivals
Malaysia is a country of rich tradition and multicultural festivals. That is the country’s strength. However, from a food consumption perspective, it’s a time to feast more than our bodies require. Loading up our plates with our favourite Rendang Curry or Mutton Curry is just going to clog up your arteries.
6) Eating Bigger Portions
Malaysians have a culture of going for items that are Value For Money. That is why when there is an offer to upgrade a Small portion to a Large portion for a minimal charge, we grab those offers. If you are eating solo, do avoid such offers or if you do take up the offer, pack the extra portion to eat it the next day.
7) Exercise is Never a Priority
Malaysians do not take exercise as a serious matter. Many sacrifice exercise time for hangouts with friends. Eating too much and exercising too little is a perfect recipe for obesity. Try to incorporate at least 30minutes of exercise per day for general well-being. It can be as simple as taking a 15 minutes’ walk during the morning and evening.
8) The Mamak Culture
With mamak stalls sprouting like mushrooms, it encourages late night eating. Many of these outlets open 24 hours and hence, it is not uncommon to see a mamak stall with full occupancy at the wee hours of the morning.
No more waiting! While it is fine to indulge on occasions, but we must be mindful of what we consume. The type of foods you consume shall play a major part in the life you will lead.