Brunei Darussalam Health Survey (STEPS 2015-2016) shows more than a third (35.8 per cent) of adults (18-69 years old) suffer from high blood pressure. The statistics became more worrying when as much as a third of the number do not receive treatment, said Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar yesterday to mark World Stroke Day.
He added that a large number of adults have high cholesterol (51.3 per cent), one in four Bruneians are not sufficiently active enough (25.3 per cent) and almost two-thirds (62.8 per cent) are overweight or obese.
He also said the number of smokers is still high, even though the Sultanate has implemented a strict tobacco policy, adding that almost one fifth (19.9 per cent) of adults are reported as ‘still smoking’.
“Meanwhile, the majority depends on imported food, most of which is processed. The average salt intake is almost double of what is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO),” the minister said. “About one fifth (21.8 per cent) of the population add salt or salty sauces when cooking, and a fifth (19.5 per cent) regularly eat salty processed foods.”
“In addition,” the minister said, ”most Bruneian adults (91.7 per cent) do not consume three portions of fruits and two portions of vegetables a day as recommended by the WHO.”
“According to the WHO, 90 per cent of stroke cases can be prevented by controlling risk factors. Therefore, people need to change their lifestyle and daily habits to reduce the risk of stroke by having regular health check-ups, ensure adherence to medications, reduce salt intake, stop smoking and make physical activity a part of daily lives.” He said, “The Ministry of Health (MoH) has implemented measures to encourage healthy eating habits and physical activity. By just exercising 30 minutes, five times a week can reduce the risk of stroke by 25 per cent.
“We are recommended to exercise for at least two and a half hours a week and use health apps such as BruHealth and ‘BN on the Move’ to help provide motivation and incentive to maintain regular physical activity.” The minister continued, “In an effort to provide high quality care to stroke victims and ensure they have a high quality of life, the MoH in collaboration with other stakeholders such as Brunei Neuroscience Stroke and Rehabilitation Centre at the Pantai Jerudong Specialist Centre will continue to focus on strategies to prevent, treat and control stroke. The rehabilitation services provided can help build strength, increase ability, confidence and help stroke sufferers continue their daily activities even though they still suffer from the effects of the stroke so that they can return to daily life and participate in society.” – Azlan Othman