For the past seven decades, World Health Day is celebrated to remind people on the importance in taking care of one’s well-being. Since 1948, World Health Organization (WHO) and other related organisations collaborated in spreading awareness on health to the communities across the world. This does not only apply on the physical aspects but also to the mental condition as well. This is fitting with last year major theme of World Health Day which is titled as Depression: Let’s talk. 


Every year, World Health Organization will change their theme based on health related issues that needs global attention and it is vital for the public to take note of it. However, various researches have found out that although in today’s global society where health is more easily accessible than before, we are still being ignorant in taking good care of our well-being until we reach 50 years old. This is the dominant age where the body organs effectiveness slowly deteriorate, making way for diseases such as diabetes and hypertension to pave way into the body. This is an ironic statement considering that World Health Day is celebrated yearly to remind us why we should take care of our health but in reality, no one really emphasise the importance of it until it is too late. 


This article will focus on what we can do about this issue with these three points. Firstlywe should practice early healthy habits. Secondly, there needs to be a more cohesive platform to provide information on healthy living. Thirdly, everyone should work towards making healthy living a priority.

According to a research from Psychology Today, they point out that if you grow up in a family that practice healthy habits, there is over 80% chance that you will continue with this attitude throughout adulthood. Subsequentlyyou will practice this lifestyle to your own family, making it a healthy lifestyle cycle. Nonetheless, these cycles will not exist if these health regimes are not imposed in your family in the first place. This statement also points out that it is human nature to be more difficult in adapting to new sudden life changes if the person has minimal exposure on the matter. Although we should not make this an excuse and find methods to improve our own health while we are still able to do so. Nowadays, it is way easier to seek information than before and we should use this advantage to the fullest. 


Statistically speaking, more than 30% believe that heathy habits can be applied in our lifestyle by slowly incorporating it in our regime. It is not advisable to implement a drastic change in our routine because it is unlikely we will be able to follow it through. For example, if we want to add in exercising, we should allocate about 15 minutes to do it and slowly it is possible to add in a longer time frame to do this activity.

A study on the impacts of social media to millennials have found out that they are twice as likely to use this medium for health-related information than people who are in the 45 to 54 age ranges. This is because millennials are more open in seeking information and do not rely much on the traditional face to face approach in meeting their doctors for any health inquiries. Nevertheless, there is still a whole debate on this matter because how easy it is to receive information and a truth discrepancy since the media have a tendency to fabricate the truth as long it has an appealing effect to the readers. For example, health pill supplement or product advertisements will set false facts in order to generate profit from viewers. This means that as a community, we should be more cautious on the health information we read online because there is a high chance that what you read holds no truth at all. 


Then again, one of the major flaws of social media is the loophole on information. Presently speaking, there is no concrete platform for us to assess health information via online and the only solution to get a proper health diagnosis is from your own doctor and not through any smart devices whatsoever. 


Following from a report from the Economist Intelligence Unit “Tackling Obesity in Asean” they found out that Malaysia leads the pack with the highest obesity percentage across the Southeast Asia region. In the report, it was stated that Malaysians have a high chance to become obese by 13.3% while a staggering 38.5% are overweight based on the Body Mass Index (BMI) scale. This is not a figure that needs to be proud of and we should find methods to ensure that Malaysians are able to lead a healthy lifestyle. In order to cultivate a society that believes that healthy living is a social lifestyle, it is important for the whole community to take on a serious approach. 


Local city councils should utilise the parks in neighbourhood areas to be equip with park exercise stations. Furthermorethese outdoor fitness park needs to be properly maintained to ensure that the public can use these equipment without any health hazards. Strict rules and law enforcements should be active patrolling these parks in order to avoid vandalism to happen and take strict counter measures to perpetrators. In addition, healthy food products should be more affordable to cater to the market because one of the major issues on this matter is the high price range. A ‘healthy lunch’ in the major cities such as Kuala Lumpur can be easily cost up to RM 30, which is not a budget that most middle class people are able to afford. 

      As the saying goes, “You only live once” is a fitting testimony about health. We only have one body to take good care off and proper health management does not need to be applied when it is too late to do anything. We should not expect that an annual celebration such as the World Health Day to remind us to change our bad health habits but instead we should do our own initiative to improve our wellbeing for the better. Josh Billings, a renowned humour writer once quoted, “Health is like money, we never have a true idea of it its value until we lose it” proves the fragility of health and if we don’t do anything to care for it, what’s stopping it to deteriorate in the mere future? 


This article was contributed by Nur Sofiya binti Zaharin and Nur Aineena Szulikowska Binti Zaidi Andrzej Szulikowski, Department of English, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya as part of their social engagement project with Challenges Media.