KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 — The 2022 -2030 National Strategic Plan to Combat the Double Burden of Malnutrition Among Children in Malaysia will focus on strengthening the governance of nutritional well-being through legislation, political commitment and stakeholders.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said this was among the five cores under the plan which were discussed and refined in the meeting of the Special Committee to Combat the Double Burden of Malnutrition Among Children, he chaired today.

The meeting was held to focus on the aspect of balanced nutrition for the young and youth who will be the driver of the country’s development in the future.


“Another strategy is improving the quality and access of nutrition services to combat the problem of the double burden of child malnutrition, strengthening the environment and society conducive to improve the well-being of children’s nutrition.

“Another core is empowering the development of capacity and human capital towards the well-being of children’s nutrition as well as the synergy of child nutrition advocacy,” he said in a statement today.

Ahmad Zahid said the plan targeted the impact on children under 18 involving individuals, families and communities including vulnerable groups as an effort to prevent and control the problem from continuing to worsen thus reducing the government’s burden of bearing the cost of treatment.


It includes awareness campaigns, including in houses of worship and involving more volunteers in the health agenda.

Meanwhile, he said the committee will meet twice a year to ensure that the allocations provided have a positive impact on children’s nutritional status (stunting and obesity) and will emphasise five areas.

These include communication strategies through large-scale campaigns as well as a change in thinking towards prevention rather than treatment (channelling of allocations should be focused on prevention programmes and activities rather than treatment).

In addition, the committee will also emphasise the involvement of volunteers in the implementation of programmes and activities to prevent malnutrition, the preparation of menus in nurseries and children’s educational institutions through Public Health Programme as well as the involvement of houses of worship to carry out activities to increase community awareness and knowledge.

“I’m sure the success of this plan shows the government’s commitment and concern to combat the problem of malnutrition among children in order to produce a healthy and productive generation,” he said.

Ahmad Zahid hopes that all ministries and agencies involved, including non-governmental organisations and the community, will continue to join hands to fight the double burden of malnutrition among children to build a healthy and ‘Madani’ generation of Malaysians.

He said the changing tide of globalisation has had a significant impact on eating practices and resulted in the country facing the double burden problem of malnutrition among children.

He said, children who suffer from nutritional problems will grow up to be adults who are at high risk of suffering from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) that require very high treatment funding throughout their lives.

Ahmad Zahid said the results of the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) among children under five found that the prevalence of stunting increased to 21.8 per cent in 2019 compared to 17.7 per cent in 2015.

“This data is categorised as high under the Public Health Significance index and Malaysia is the only Asean country that does not reach a satisfactory level for growth standards according to the World Health Organization (WHO),” he said.

In addition, a survey of the probable causes of the double burden problem of malnutrition found that children do not eat enough vegetables a day (92 per cent), do not eat enough fruit a day (67 per cent) and do not eat breakfast (70 per cent) which increases the potential for health problems related to being underweight and stunted. — Bernama