High blood pressure is a key indicator of hypertension. Photo: iStock.

About 40% of the population in Indonesia, or two in five people, are suffering from hypertension, resulting in losses to the southeast Asian giant’s economy and productivity.

Indonesians who are suffering from hypertension should change their dietary habits and do more exercise in order to live healthier lives, Indonesia’s Minister of Health Nila Moeloek said in a speech at the 54th National Health Day in Jakarta, which had a theme of “Let’s Live a Healthy Life Starting with Us”, on Sunday.

The health minister pointed out that about 40% of the Indonesian population is now suffering from hypertension, Netral News reported.

Moeloek said a major cause of poor health is the lack of vegetables and fruits in diets, although these fresh foods are easy to obtain in the country. She suggested eating fish, instead of mainly meat, as a source for protein as well. High blood pressure is a key indicator of hypertension.

Indonesia’s Ministry of Health has continued its mission to improve public health quality. For instance, they have established the Health Society Movement (Germas) which aims to promote healthy eating habits, encouraging exercise as well as helping with regular health checks.

In fact, a study conducted in 2013 pointed out that hypertension was one of the most prominent causes of strokes in Indonesia, and noted that about 25.8% of citizens suffered from hypertension. In 2015, a national health insurance (JKN) report forecast that the number of people living with hypertension in Indonesia would increase to 40% of the population within the next decade.