Malaysia is a food heaven but the people are living in a health crisis hell. One of every three Malaysians are obese which leads us to detrimental health issues such as heart attack, angina, breathing difficulties and the list never ends. After visiting Japan, I would like to compare and contrast between the lifestyle of both the peoples- the stark difference.

There are lesser Japanese who are obese, very much lesser compared to Malaysians, I rarely came across really fat Japanese. The most obvious distinction between their lifestyle compared to us is they walk a lot, a lot. Not to exaggerate, but it is definitely 10 times more than an average Malaysian, perhaps a hundred times more because an average Japanese have to walk at least a mile in their train boarding and disembarking process, not to mention most of them prefer to walk to a place rather than driving as the cost of driving there is exorbitant. Malaysians on the other hand have to drive to their destination as Malaysia’s infrastructure is no where near of Japan’s, thus we are forced to use our own transport to get to a place, and even when we are searching for a parking, we often look for the nearest spot to the place just because we are lazy to walk the extra steps. Therefore, Malaysians walk way lesser than Japanese.

The implications of just ‘walking’ is sufficient to overthrow the entire population into a healthier state. In my opinion, although maybe Japanese have a hectic lifestyle and diet, they still have ‘walking’ to balance out all of those because by just that small thing, Japanese are able to maintain a fairly good health. Malaysians do not have this ‘walking’ to balance out the rather toxic lifestyle that we have that becomes one of the main attributes for this obesity problem.

Sugar is one of the favourite additives to Malaysians diet, even Japanese love them too. Malaysians only integrate sugar- pure coarse sugar, into the foods and drinks, I rarely see anything else that contributes to the sweetness factor. But, Japanese foods and drinks do not rely heavily on sugar to give the people the sweetness ‘kick’ that is widely required by Malaysians, their foods and drinks are mainly driven by the raw ingredients to bring out the taste of it. For instance, the Coca-cola or bottled coffee in Japan taste less sweet and more genuine compared to in Malaysia. Malaysians are too dependent on the sweetness ‘kick’ from the pure coarse sugar inherently inherited by our rich culture which indirectly causes obesity.

Fatty foods are rarely seen in Japanese diets. Before proceeding, fatty foods are foods that have high saturated fats content. Japanese seldom feast on fatty foods as much as Malaysians probably because their choices of food are way more constricted than ours, and even if they have fatty foods on their menus, there are only a small number of restaurants or sellers that cater to this requirement. Even if Japanese serve fatty food, their fatty food is unlike ours, they kept their saturated fats content to the bare minimum, letting the raw ingredient satisfy their stomach, not the oiliness of the food.

Sugar, fats and sitting too much leads to the many obese Malaysians. Perhaps Malaysia should establish or reinforce the Foods and Drugs Administration (FDA) in order to further control the food manufacturers and cooks before the unhealthy level of Malaysia reach new heights.

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