Jakarta (ANTARA) - Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin has said that to tackle obesity in Indonesia, there needs to be a change in public perception and culture — and the media can play a vital role in achieving this.

During a press conference in Tangerang, Banten, on Wednesday, Sadikin said that obesity caused by uncontrolled consumption of sugar can lead to diabetes. Diabetes, he added, is the mother of all diseases as it can affect several organs.

"That we must control because Indonesians' culture is to consume sweet foods, sweet drinks. That's Indonesian culture. If we are to look at the sugar content of Coca-Cola in Indonesia, maybe it is twice as much as Coca-Cola in Singapore," he highlighted.

Therefore, he informed, the ministry intends to limit the maximum amount of sugar, salt, and fat permitted in products, which will be materialized through a regulation issued by the Food and Drug Authority (BPOM).

Though regulations play an important role in shaping eating habits, public awareness is the most crucial aspect, he said. The media has a crucial part in changing perspectives and eating habits as well as promoting a healthy lifestyle, he added.

For example, people could switch to coffee without sugar if they are taught that the habit of taking coffee with sugar is uncool, Sadikin said. Moreover, the media can show that a slim or toned body is much better than an overweight or obese one.

Besides changing perspectives, he added, another method to tackle obesity is pursuing initiatives instead of programs. Car Free Day, he said, is one such initiative that can encourage people to undertake physical activity due to the sheer joy it brings.

"People are racing, running, biking. You can take pictures, selfies, upload them to Instagram or TikTok. Those are (bringing) joy to them," he remarked.

Upon viewing such pictures or posts, people would become interested in physical activity and start to see it as something cool.

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Reporter: Mecca Yumna Ning Prisie
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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