KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 3 — Malaysia, known as Asia’s fattest country, recorded an increase in its obesity rate last year, with the latest statistics showing that the overweight and the obese make up nearly half the its 30 million populace.
The numbers were revealed yesterday by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam who said according to the National Health and Morbidity Survey of 2015, obese Malaysians make up 17.7 per cent of the population while those who are categorised as overweight make up 30 per cent.
“The obesity prevalence have increased drastically from 4.4 per cent in 1996 to 14 per cent in 2006.
“Then it increased to 15.1 per cent in 2011 and continued to increase to 17.7 per cent in 2015,” he was quoted saying by Malay-language daily Sinar Harian at a calorie awareness campaign launch in Seremban.
“The prevalence of adults who are overweight is 30 per cent. If added together, almost half the population of Malaysia are either overweight or obese,”
He had also said that diabetes was also affecting more people, with statistics showing an increase from 11.6 per cent of the population affected in 1996 to 17.5 per cent in 2015.
It was also revealed that 47.7 per cent of adults in the country has high cholesterol.
However, the prevalence for hypertension saw a decrease from 32.7 per cent in 2006 to 30.3 per cent in 2015.
“If there is excessive calorie intake, or the calories are not utilised through physical activity, obesity will occur,” the daily further quoted Subramaniam as saying.
“Therefore, awareness for calorie intake is very important for society to be more careful with their dietary habits.”
In 2014, a study published by British medical journal The Lancet said Malaysia was rated the highest in Asia for obesity South Korea, Pakistan and China.