KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 — Cases of overweight and obesity are now increasing at an alarming rate in the country, said Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali.
He said based on the National Health and Morbidity Survey, which is conducted every four years, 50.1 per cent of Malaysians were overweight with 19.7 per cent of them facing obesity in 2019.
“This means that one in two adults is now overweight. As for children, 30 per cent of those aged between five and 13 years are obese.
“The government is concerned that this matter will get worse. Being overweight can increase the risk of getting chronic diseases and non-communicable diseases,” he said when launching the Malaysian Obesity Week here today.
He said the same study conducted in 2015 showed that only 29.4 Malaysians were overweight, while only 15.1 per cent were in the obesity category.
This proves that the problem is now becoming more serious, he added.
Noor Azmi said several initiatives had been made to address the problem, including collaborating with companies involved in the food and beverage industry, to encourage the production of products that met the stipulated nutritional criteria, as well as imposing excise duty on sugary drinks.
Apart from that, he said public literacy on health was important in the effort to fight the problem of obesity.
He said all levels of society should play their role in helping to reduce the rate of obesity in the country so that there would be a healthier society.
The inaugural Malaysian Obesity Week celebration is held in collaboration with the Malaysian Association for the Study of Obesity (MASO) to raise public awareness on the dangers of obesity and steps that can be taken to prevent and treat the problem. — Bernama