Malaysia has the greatest prevalence of obese adults in Southeast Asia, increasing their risks of contracting deadly diseases and straining government healthcare budgets.
Global obesity rates have reached epidemic proportions, with at least 2.8 million people dying from being overweight or obese annually, according to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO) (1).
The figures for Malaysia are grim as the nation has the highest obesity rate in Southeast Asia at 15.6% while 50.1% of Malaysians are classified as overweight, according to the World Population Review 2019 and the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) (2,3).
The excess weight epidemic is unsurprisingly of great concern not only in Malaysia but also globally because it increases the risk of deadly conditions including diabetes, stroke, and coronary heart disease. Obesity is also estimated to be connected with 10 to 20% of healthcare spending in Malaysia, straining both government resources and the personal budgets of corpulent patients and their families (4).
Overweight individuals can reduce their healthcare expenditure and keep obesity at bay by maintaining a healthy lifestyle of regular exercise and a balanced, nutritious diet, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Besides offering mental health benefits, a healthy lifestyle manages blood sugar and cholesterol levels, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers, and even strengthens bones and muscles for a longer, fuller and happier life.
1. World Health Organization. Obesity. World Health Organization; April 2020. Accessible at: https://www.who.int/news-room/facts-in-pictures/detail/6-facts-on-obesity. (Last accessed: 11 December 2020)
2. World Population Review. Most Obese Countries 2020. World Population Review; 2020. Accessible at: https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/most-obese-countries. (Last accessed: 11 December 2020)
3. National Institutes of Health. National Health and Morbidity Survey 2019; 2019. Accessible at: http://iku.moh.gov.my/images/IKU/Document/REPORT/NHMS2019/
Fact_Sheet_NHMS_2019-English.pdf. (Last accessed: 11 December 2020)
4. Code Blue. Obesity May Cost 20pc of Malaysia’s Health Care Spending; 2019. Accessible at: https://codeblue.galencentre.org/2019/07/19/obesity-may-cost-20pc-of-malaysias-health-care-spending/#:~:text=By%20CodeBlue%20%7C%2019%20July%202019&text=KUALA%20LUMPUR%2C%20July%2019%20%E2%
80%94%20Obesity,Asia%2C%20a%20research%20firm%20said. (Last accessed: 11 December 2020)