CAP calls on the relevant authorities to take immediate steps to control the growing number of obese children in the country to control the diabetes epidemic that Malaysia is facing.
Studies have showed that childhood obesity levels in Malaysia are among the highest in Asian countries. Data from various research groups have indicated that as many as 15% of toddlers and preschool children in the country could be overweight and obese. Among primary school children, 30% of them could be overweight and obese. These statistics are not surprising as overweight children and youngsters are a common sight at public places.
Today is World Hypertension Day (WHD). It is a day designated by The World Hypertension League (WHL), which is made up of 85 national hypertension societies. Since 2006, the WHL has been dedicating May 17 of every year as WHD. It was initiated to increase awareness on hypertension which is the biggest single risk factor for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs).
CVDs are the number one cause of death globally where 1.55 million deaths every year are attributed to hypertension. By 2030, 23.3 million people would die from CVDs mainly from heart disease and stroke. This is a disturbing 34% increase from 17.3 million in 2008.
Malaysia is not spared from this global epidemic. Every day an average of 110 people are dying of heart disease and related diseases of the circulation. It is now the principal cause of death in the country, accounting for 16.5% of all deaths in Ministry of Health Hospitals in 2008.
Every year there are 38,000 new cases of heart disease in Malaysia. Six new cases of stroke occur every hour and stroke has become Malaysia's number-three killer after heart disease and cancer. One in 3 or about 32.7% of Malaysians aged 18years and above are suffering from hypertension.
In Malaysia, the prevalence of high blood pressure has increased in the past decade. In 1996, it was indicated that 33% of adults aged 30 years and above had hypertension. Ten years later, the figure has increased to 43%.
CAP calls on the authorities to impose a tax on soft drinks as an effort to reduce the escalating number of diabetics among Malaysians.
The soda tax, as it is commonly called in the USA, is a tax or surcharge on soft drinks. The main purpose of this tax is to discourage high sugar consumption as soft drinks is a main contributor to obesity, which in turn is linked to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and other health problems.
Contrary to what Dr Lee Han Lim of IMR has written (‘GM mosquitoes: Procedure strictly complied with’ in The Sun, Feb. 6 , http://www.thesundaily.my/news/287130), the GM Aedes mosquitoes release was riddled with non-compliance of international biosafety standards, non-transparency, lack of public accountability and lack of proper due process prior to the GM mosquito release. Moreover, recently revealed data shows that survival rate of the GM mosquitoes can be as high as 15%, not the mere 3% that Dr. Lee claims.
CAP calls upon the Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism to immediately stop subsidising the price of sugar.
Sugar should be sold at its market price because it is not a basic necessity and its consumption only harms one’s health. Sugar has been linked to over 60 ailments from cancer, diabetes, obesity, heart problems, osteoporosis and kidney problems to asthma and allergies.