Preventing the double threat of Covid-19 and NCDs


As we intently monitor the standing of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are able to all heave a sigh of reduction as constructive instances and hospitalisations have declined, companies are all reopening, and the normal working procedures have been loosened.

The much-anticipated return to pre-pandemic normality is on the horizon, however we aren’t completely out of the woods simply but.

Warnings of different mutant strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus proceed to threaten our well being, and function an ever-present reminder that we’ve to stay vigilant towards Covid-19.

Although this communicable (infectious) illness stays at the forefront of our consideration, we should always not overlook a gaggle of extra debilitating and life-threatening circumstances, specifically, non-communicable illnesses (NCDs).

As of July 3 (2022), Malaysia had logged an estimated 4.57 million confirmed Covid-19 instances, with over 35,000 deaths.

In distinction, the National Health and Morbidity Surveys (NHMS) over the years have reported a a lot increased prevalence of individuals with NCDs.

The 2019 NHMS estimated that round 3.9 million Malaysian adults had diabetes, six million had hypertension (hypertension) and eight million had excessive blood levels of cholesterol.

It was additionally estimated that over 73% of deaths in Malaysia have been NCD-related at the moment.

With many Malaysians nonetheless dwelling with NCDs, have we misplaced our concentrate on these persistent illnesses as a result of of the Covid-19 pandemic?

We can not afford to loosen up.

With the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic behind us, we’ve to deal with NCDs with equal consideration and shift our focus again to their prevention.

NCDs worsen Covid-19

Malaysia and the world have witnessed the ravaging results of Covid-19 in all elements of human life for greater than two years.If working out for 30 minutes straight seems too daunting, try doing 10-minute blocks throughout the day instead, e.g. a short session of climbing up and down the stairs during your tea break.If figuring out for half-hour straight appears too daunting, strive doing 10-minute blocks all through the day as a substitute, e.g. a brief session of climbing up and down the stairs throughout your tea break.

Comparatively, Malaysia and a lot of the world have witnessed the devastating results of NCDs (non-infectious) illnesses for for much longer.

These embody cardiovascular (coronary heart) illnesses, diabetes, cancers and persistent respiratory illnesses.

The principal danger components of NCDs are weight problems, hypertension, excessive blood levels of cholesterol and excessive blood glucose ranges.

In Malaysia, the quantity of individuals dwelling with NCDs or its related danger components has been on the rise to its present excessive ranges.

It is estimated that one in two Malaysians already reside with a single danger issue, one in 10 individuals with two danger components, and one in 12 with three danger components.

The causes of NCDs and their danger components are multifactorial, however stem from two principal parts: an unhealthy weight loss program and an absence of bodily exercise.

So, what has Covid-19, an infectious illness, acquired to do with NCDs?


People with NCDs, or its related danger components, are considerably extra vulnerable to infectious illnesses like Covid-19.

Having an NCD or related danger components additionally improve the possibilities of the particular person growing extreme illness from the virus.

For instance, weight problems, diabetes and hypertension can improve the danger of growing extreme Covid-19 signs by seven, three and 2.3 occasions respectively.

This emphasises a powerful hyperlink between NCDs and Covid-19, and makes it much more crucial to grasp methods in which you’ll be able to undertake a more healthy way of life and stop growing an NCD.

Being wholesome

We have to be empowered to struggle these well being threats by means of a wholesome way of life, together with wholesome diet.

One of the many essential classes the pandemic taught us was the worth of sustaining a wholesome way of life and weight loss program to assist our immune system in stopping, preventing and recovering from Covid-19.

Not solely does a wholesome way of life and weight loss program assist assist our immune system, but it surely additionally reduces the possibilities of growing NCDs and its danger components.

Here are some tricks to get you in your manner in direction of a wholesome way of life:

> Adopt a nutritious diet

Include nutrient-rich meals from all meals teams into your weight loss program.

This may be integrated utilizing the “quarter-quarter-half” wholesome consuming plate idea as a straightforward information to portioning meals teams for every meal.

Choose extra plant-based meals, e.g. fruits, greens, entire grains, legumes and nuts.

This will present your physique with a variety of the vitamins and antioxidants wanted to assist a wholesome immune system to struggle off infections.

Reduce your consumption of meals excessive in sugar, oil and salt by utilizing these components when cooking sparingly.

A wholesome different is to make use of varied spices and herbs to naturally improve the flavour of the dishes.

This can assist hold the quantity of sugar, oil and salt consumed in verify, with out compromising on the style of your homecooked meals.

Make a acutely aware effort to decide on more healthy meals when eating out.

As the precise quantity of salt, sugar and oil may be troublesome to find out when consuming out, strive and go for dishes which might be ready utilizing more healthy cooking strategies.

Choose to drink extra plain water as a substitute of sugary drinks to assist keep away from extreme consumption of sugars.

Indulge in desserts moderately.

You can nonetheless take pleasure in desserts once in a while – serve your self a small portion and share the relaxation with others, or reserve it to take pleasure in one other time.

Choose more healthy desserts ready with decrease fats and sugar.

Alternatively, fruits are a great choice to fulfill your candy tooth.

Use diet labels as a information for more healthy selections.

When buying pre-packaged meals, check out the diet info panel for perception on the dietary worth of the product.

Avoid selecting merchandise based mostly on diet claims.

Instead, select merchandise by evaluating their dietary worth per serving utilizing the diet info panel.

You can even be careful for added sugar and salt by referring to the ingredient checklist.

Adopting wholesome consuming practices can assist you in lowering the danger of growing NCDs, whereas additionally enhancing the physique’s immune system as we aren’t but completely secure from Covid-19 but.

You don’t have to cut out dessert altogether; just try to have healthier alternatives, like yoghurt and fruit, in moderate portions.You don’t have to chop out dessert altogether; simply attempt to have more healthy options, like yoghurt and fruit, in reasonable parts.

> Instil wholesome consuming habits earlier

Aside from encouraging a wholesome balanced weight loss program, to offer your kids the proper begin, additionally it is essential for fogeys to:

  • Provide meals with the applicable child-sized parts.
  • Ensure that they don’t skip breakfast.
  • Limit their quantity of sugary drinks and snacks.
  • Provide extra wholesome snacks.

> Be bodily lively

Incorporate at the very least the really useful half-hour of bodily exercise into your day.

This may be damaged down into shorter 10-minute “blocks”, which may be simply scattered all through the day.

ALSO READ: Can’t find 30 minutes to exercise? Try a ‘fitness snack’ instead

For kids, encourage your youngster to have at the very least 60 minutes of bodily exercise per day.

Additionally, additionally it is essential to restrict their screentime and to advertise an lively way of life.

> Maintain a wholesome physique weight

A wholesome physique weight will come in consequence of usually practising a wholesome way of life.

Maintaining these habits over time will cut back the danger of growing NCDs and their danger components.

Slowly, however certainly

A wholesome way of life is achievable even for individuals with hectic lives.

Adopting a wholesome way of life doesn’t essentially require sudden or drastic adjustments, however can merely begin by incorporating small and incremental adjustments.

It is a matter of being disciplined and constant, to construct up and keep wholesome each day habits.

This will assist us cut back the danger of growing NCDs and their danger components, in addition to help in boosting our immune system to struggle towards infectious illnesses like Covid-19.

Dr Tee E Siong is the Nutrition Society of Malaysia (NSM) president and Nutrition Month Malaysia (NMM) steering committee chairman. NMM 2022 is an annual group diet schooling initiative collectively organised by NSM, the Malaysian Dietitians’ Association and the Malaysian Society of Body Composition. The NMM 2022 Virtual Nutrition Fair will likely be held on July 19-31 (2022). Register here and go to the NMM Facebook and Instagram pages for extra info.

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