If we’re prosperous and well-fed, does that mean overweight and obesity are knocking at our door?
by Stanley P, Carrybeans
Through the annuls of world history, civilisations have seen fatness as a sign of prosperity and health.
Many ancient rulers were large and bulky, with rolls of fat that happily kept their navels hidden. Back then when famines were rife, if you were obese, it meant you ate well and were healthy.
As civilisations birthed and passed, obesity stayed as an indication of all things good, a reflection of power and social status. The Efik of Nigeria traditionally had ‘fattening huts’, where girls stayed up to two years putting on weight to make them more attractive for marriage.
Today, fattening rooms still exist for anyone seeking weight gain, especially before marriage. In many African societies, the larger you are the more prosperous you’re believed to be. And that may be somewhat true, but with it comes obesity and health issues related to it.
This conversation cropped up recently after a politician claimed Malaysians are obese as a result of how prosperous our country is. “Many die from overeating while many are also obese and contract diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases because they eat meat everyday,” Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Moktar Radin said recently.
His statement surprised many, and understandably so. But as controversial as Bung Mokhtar’s statement might be, it certainly has brought the topic of food, nutrition and obesity into the spotlight.
Okay, some parts of the world may still equal body size to be proportionate to how much wealth you have amassed. But that’s not always true these days. According to Malaysian Dietitian’s Association president Prof Winnie Chee, while there is some connection between income and obesity, poor people can suffer from obesity as well.
Let’s be real: eating healthy can be expensive. Fruits and other organic produce burn a hole in our wallets. Not only that, preparation of healthy food can be more time-consuming and inconvenient. So, it’s no wonder many low-income families or individuals would prefer to tapau or have an instant noodle dinner.
On top of that, the lack of an active lifestyle is also a contributing factor to how obese we are. Living in the city can be very hectic and most people might not have the time to exercise. Wealthier people tend to have the resources for healthier lifestyles, such as gym memberships, but that doesn’t mean they break a sweat often enough.
It’s so easy to be caught up with the busy lifestyle, but at the same time it is also important to take care of your health. But Malaysia, a haven of all good food, doesn’t make it that simple! We know.
Here are some small ways you can stay fit in this day and age:
Do know any other health tips in the fight against obesity? Let us know in the comments below.
Speaking of health, did you know that Sabah has the highest number of mental health issues in Malaysia?
Featured Image Credit: Pixabay