We’re (Malaysia) the 10th laziest nation in the world

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By Stan Lee

Malaysia is the 10th laziest nation in the world! The shocking piece of finding came from an international study timed intentionally to coincide with the London Olympic Games.

Worse still, Malaysia turned out to be the most slothful nation by far in Southeast Asia, scoring 61.4% on the inactive index versus Cambodia’s 11.2%, Myanmar’s 12.7%, Vietnam’s 15.3%, Thailand’s 19.2%, Philippines’ 23.7% and Indonesia’s 29.8% . Perhaps due to its small size, neighboring Singapore was not on the survey of 122 countries grading about 89% of the world’s population.

“It is not something to be proud of and it is time for the Health ministry to get cracking on making Malaysians more aware of where we stand instead of giving the usual excuses and denials which do no one any good. A healthy lifestyle and an active and bright mind go hand in hand. So if we are fitter, the tendency is that we won’t be so lazy mentally either,” PKR vice president Chua Jui Meng, a former Health minister, told MalaiseMalaysia Chronicle.

Malaysia has long been accused of malaise and apathy and this has in the past been attributed to the hot and humid weather in the country and a lack of educational opportunities for the large rural population. But with the advent of air-con and national access to free education at primary schools, these are clearly mere excuses.

Malaysia’s malaise has been blamed for the country’s inability to compete against other countries, prompting decades of affirmative-action economic policies that pundits say in hindsight have worsened the situation, and spawned generations of youths who believe that it is the government’s duty to owe them a living.

Leaders in Prime Minister Najib Razak’s ruling Umno-BN coalition, which has been in power for 55 years, have also been lambasted for jumping onto a ‘subsidy-mentality’ bandwagon. There is little doubt the Umno-BN has benefited from the abuse and misuse of these affirmative-action policies which they put in place allegedly to retain political popularity and hence bolster their grip on power.

Laziness now “pandemic”

Renowned medical journal, The Lancet, had released a hefty series of studies on the growing worldwide health problem, inactivity, which has now been elevated to “pandemic” status.

Taking into account 122 countries around the globe – about 89% of the world’s population – the researchers determined the inactivity rate of each population, and then looked at the situation for men and women singly.

The study defined inactivity as not doing five 30-minute sessions of moderate activity, three 20-minute sessions of vigorous activity, or 600 metabolic equivalent minutes per week.

Women more inactive than men

Asian powerhouses China scored 31% and India 15.6%. The United States – still considered the world’s leading economy despite current financial woes – came out 46th.

According to Forbes, the good news is that the U.S. is not among the most inactive countries. The bad news is that inactivity still accounts for as many deaths globally as does tobacco use, and that’s a lot of preventable deaths.

As is the case for many of the nations analyzed, the situation is worse for U.S. women, with 47% being inactive, vs. only 33.5% of men.

The take-home message from the series is that about a third of people across the world do not meet the minimum activity recommendations (which is generally about 2.5 hours of moderate activity per week).

But countries vary greatly, with Malta topping the inactive list at 71.9%, and Greece faring best in the European Region, at 15.6%. The situation is worse for adolescents (ages 13-15) across the globe, of whom about 80% fall into the inactive category.

TOP 20

1 – Malta: 71.9% inactive

2 – Swaziland: 69.0% inactive

3 – Saudi Arabia: 68.8% inactive

4 – Serbia: 68.3% inactive

5 – Argentina: 68.3% inactive

6 – Micronesia: 66.3% inactive

7 – Kuwait: 64.5% inactive

8 – Britain: 63.3% inactive

9 – United Arab Emirates: 62.5% inactive

10 – Malaysia: 61.4% inactive

11 – Japan: 60.2% inactive

12 – Dominican Republic: 60.0% inactive

13 – Namibia: 58.5% inactive

14 – Iraq: 58.4% inactive

15 – Turkey: 56.0% inactive

16 – Cyprus: 55.4% inactive

17 – Italy: 54.7% inactive

18 – Ireland: 53.2% inactive

19 – South Africa: 52.4% inactive

20 – Bhutan: 52.3% inactive