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Change Malaysian lifestyles to boost immune systems

People are struggling to put nutritious food on the table - SILVIARITA/PIXABAY

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We can change our destiny with healthy food choices, daily exercise, and public and personal hygiene, JD Lovrenciear writes. 

As we continue to join the world in reeling from the unprecedented pandemic, the coronavirus onslaught gives Malaysians one final chance to recalibrate their lifestyle choices. 

Will the government, politicians, community and religious leaders commit to help Malaysians to reorientate our lifestyles for the better? 

The coronavirus has demonstrated the importance of the human immune system. You don’t need no rocket science to know and appreciate the importance of food choices, hygiene and exercise. This combination can give us a better immune system. 

But it takes honest admission to state that we Malaysians have seriously compromised on these three pillars of good health. Fruit and greens are not the preferred choices. Instead, the mushrooming of fast-food eateries and processed frozen food rows in supermarkets reveals our changed habits. All the exercise publicity in Putrajaya has not helped as we continue to claim that we do not have time to exercise daily. 

We had a rich culture of relying on ulam (a traditional salad) and humble kampong vegetables to accompany our meals. But we have almost lost all that, as we have now become a huge beef and mutton importer and prefer eating out of cans. 

Obesity, diabetes, serious heart conditions have become our prevalent challenges and put us at higher risk to Covid-19. But are we bothered? 

Many of us have joined the chorus accusing the Chinese in Wuhan of eating exotic meat. But don’t we Malaysians feel any remorse over how badly we have drifted in our personal, communal and national lifestyle choices? Can’t we see how we have abandoned our rich past and instead thrown healthy food, healthy exercise and hygiene out of the windows in the name of so-called progress and development? 

We cannot recalibrate our lifestyles if the government does not seriously try to correct the scales. It is time for all segments of society – from politicians, the religious and civil society activists to those on the professional circuits – to converge to craft a national agenda to help Malaysians make the switch so they can boost their immune systems. Slogans and preaching are futile.

We need policies that can be supported by public and private enterprises. We need to craft an economy that prioritises and thrives on healthy food, daily exercise, public hygiene and a cleaner environment. 

We need to tackle the problems of obesity, diabetes, heart diseases and cancer.  We need to focus on our body’s immune system. We need to intensify our knowledge and understanding of food science, nutrition, exercise and good hygiene. 

From stall operators using inferior recycled cooking oil to fry and sell their popular dishes to factories profiteering from undisclosed chemicals in their recipes – we need to take decisive action. From farmlands relying on pesticides to make a killing to fish farms; from questionable livestock rearing practices to manufacturing pollution – we need to decide now what our future path will be if we want to commit to improving our immune systems. 

A government that cannot transform its citizens’ health and wellness is a failed government. All the brick-and-mortar structures and trappings of progress will not guarantee the good health of the people.  

Without a good immune system, we will only be hit with more misery if another virus sweeps across the land. We can change our destiny with healthy food choices, daily exercise and public and personal hygiene. 

Is Malaysia ready? 

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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