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10 May 2017


1.       Just 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity five or more times a week can prolong life, maintain good quality of life, and reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and cancer. Many of us in Brunei, 82% in a recent survey, have heard this message before. Some have made plans to exercise more and eat healthier, and a few have discussed those plans with family and friends. Today, on the occasion of World Move for Health Day, let us seize the opportunity to turn those discussions into action. In pursuit of a healthy, active Brunei, it is time for us all to ensure, that we walk the talk.


2.       It is often too easy to come up with excuses for being inactive. We spend our day sitting down for long periods. At the end of the work day it is easy to retreat into the pleasing comfort of the sofa. But there is another way to live our lives. We have a viable alternative for those who wish to make this worthwhile investment in their health. Recreational parks, walking trails, fitness groups, spin classes and gyms are often packed with people. Each Sunday morning, Bandar Seri Begawan becomes an urban park, free of cars but alive with people walking, cycling and enjoying themselves with their families and friends.


3.       Over the last years, signs of hope have emerged. Although 61% of adults in Brunei are overweight or obese and sadly, the highest in ASEAN, many are taking to physical activity to overcome this and lead healthier lives. In 2011, 35% of people were considered physically inactive. In 2016, this proportion had reduced to 25%. This shows an improvement of 10% over a five-year period. As a nation, it is fair to say that we are becoming more active. What is important now is to sustain this through embedding this culture of health as the new social norm.


4.       Physical activity does not always have to mean going to an exercise class or a gym. Some simple actions which take up just minutes of our day, can add years to our lives if we do it everyday. These include:

  • Taking the stairs as often as possible
  • Parking far away from the front door
  • Take up gardening and yard work


5.       Today, on World Move for Health Day, let us ensure that we walk the talk. We can increase our own levels of physical activity and encourage our families, friends, colleagues and communities to do the same. The coming Ramadhan is not an excuse to be inactive. Muslims can still exercise moderately, just before iftar or after terawih prayers. Together with dietary control, this will also be a good opportunity for those of us who are keen to lose some weight!

6.       Ensuring that people keep active, mobile and independent is not solely the responsibility of the Ministry of Health. Just like all stakeholders worked together to bring about and sustain Bandarku Ceria, all of us can play our part in building a healthier Brunei. World Move for Health Day marks an opportunity for us to take stock and take concrete actions to invest in our health by being physically active. Let us not defer or procrastinate any longer. This evening, after work, bring your family out for a jog or do some gardening, or cycle if you are so inclined. Do it today, do it tomorrow, do it for our children and our children's children.


7.       This is particularly pertinent for Brunei Darussalam in its vision to be a highly developed nation with high quality of life and is especially well-aligned with all of the Ministry of Health's three strategic priorities for the next five years, that is, to inculcate that 'health is everyone's business, to deliver excellent services and to prevent and control non-communicable diseases (NCDs).


Reference          : KK/PR 4/1

Date                   : 10 May 2017

*Click here for infographic