Imbalance in the intake and use of daily energy due to increased consumption of foods high in fat and a sedentary lifestyle, not practising breastfeeding and children's eating habits which are influenced by the surroundings are among the factors contributing to obesity. Therefore, a healthy environment and community that supports a more healthy lifestyle is vital in influencing the public's choices and behaviour towards practicing healthy and balanced diet as well as conducting physical activities which can prevent and control obesity. This was among the matters stressed upon by the Minister of Health in the message in conjunction with this year's World Obesity Day themed 'End Weight Stigma'.

According to Yang Berhormat Dato Seri Setia Doctor Haji Mohammad Isham bin Haji Jaafar, obesity is also closely linked to non-communicable diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. In Brunei Darussalam the rate of obesity among adults is the highest in the region and according to the Non-Communicable Diseases Survey 2016, 3 out of 10 adults in the country are obese. Meanwhile, the rate of obesity among teenagers aged between 13 and 17 years old is 17 percent. The Minister of Health added, what is more worrying is the trend of a 1 percent increase every year since 2011 in the rate of obesity for children under 13 years from the findings of health screenings conducted in schools nationwide.

Therefore, the Minister of Health urged that a life-long united approach by all levels of the society and various sectors is vital to together tackle and stop the increase in the rate of obesity in the country, either at the individual or even the community level. The legislation and implementation of related policies is also needed such as tariffs on drinks with added sugar as well as restrictions on the marketing of food high in sugar, salt and fats to children. Meanwhile, the food industry also plays an important role in influencing consumers' choice by providing healthier and affordable alternatives.

The Minister of Health also urged the country's society to work together in curbing and ending weight stigma by further enhancing awareness and knowledge on it as well as changing the general attitude towards obesity. For those requiring advice and counselling services, the government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam through the Ministry of Health also provides an Obesity Clinic service at the Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital through references from nearby health centres.

Source: Radio Television Brunei