Indians, Malays most at risk of diabetes and obesity, says health minister

Dr Subramaniam said the two races formed the largest group in terms of the prevalence of obesity recorded in the country. — Reuters pic
Dr Subramaniam said the two races formed the largest group in terms of the prevalence of obesity recorded in the country. — Reuters pic

PUTRAJAYA, Oct 28 — Indians and Malays have been found to lack a sense of awareness on healthy diet and health care, as compared to the Chinese in the country, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.

He said these factors led both races to face health problems as the risk of obesity and diabetes continued to rise each year.

He said the two races formed the largest group in the prevalence of obesity recorded in the country, from 4.4 per cent in 1996 to 14 per cent in 2006, rising to 15.1 per cent in 2011.   

Dr Subramaniam said in terms of the percentage, 35.7 per cent were Indians, followed by Malays (32) and Chinese (19.7).

“Similarly, for the prevalence of diabetes, it rose from 14.9 per cent in 2006 to 20.8 per cent in 2011, with the Indians recording the highest at 24.9 per cent, followed by the Malays at 17 per cent and Chinese, 13.9 per cent,” he told a media conference on ‘Healthy Eating During Deepavali’ here today.

Recently, the minister revealed that 8.5 million Malaysians were suffering from overweight problem. Of the number, 4.4 million were obese.

According to Dr Subramaniam, the problems would continue to persist if Malaysians continued to over-eat and craved for sweet food, and did not exercise daily.

“Awareness and practice of a healthy culture among the people is still lacking, especially in the Indian and Malay communities.

“As such, Malaysians must give greater attention towards a culture of  healthy diet and lifestyle,” he noted. — Bernama

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