The recent reports reveal that Malaysia is going through the worst phase of public health where half of the Malaysians are obese. It also highlights that one in every five citizens are at a high risk of type 2 diabetes.
Considering the coronavirus lockdown, people took it to social media to talk about their obesity and how is it affecting their health. The lockdown is making people bound at home which means no physical activity unless someone is motivated enough for home-based workouts.
Unfortunately, this obesity trend is not something superficial and has deeper roots in terms of public health. These results are based on the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS 2019) which was released a month ago. As to this survey, the Malaysians are obese or overweight which brings a number of health risks for them.
This survey had 15,000 people from all parts of the country. The results of this NHMS 2019 survey showed that 50.1% of people are fat. Among these, 30.4% are overweight and 19.7% have obesity.
This survey is arranged every four years under the Institute for Public Health. The purpose of conducting this survey is to find the prevalence of obesity in Malaysia which is remarkably higher in recent years.
Not just the adults but children are also suffering from the same. Nearly 1/3rd of the Malaysian children, nearly 29.8% from the ages five to seventeen are fat. Among these children 15% are overweight. and 14.8% are a victim of obesity.
This NHMS 2019 survey also showed a new weight gain trend that women are more obese than men. Comparatively, 54.7%, women in their middle age, 63.9% ethnic Indians, and 60.9% of women between 55-59 years of age were obese.
In addition to this, it also revealed that every one in five adults in Mayalais is at a high risk of type 2 diabetes. It means nearly 3.9 million population is at risk of diabetes.
A local newspaper, Malay Mail reported that the country’s health minister Datuk Seri Dr. Adham Baba said that these results are worse than the last survey in 2015. Reportedly, the risk of diabetes was only 13.4% four years ago, which is now increased to 18.3%.
This increase in diabetes cases in Malaysia is worrisome. Nearly 49% of these cases are neither reported or tested which means they are on the verge of a sudden health collapse. In general, Malaysians don’t follow a very healthy lifestyle that directly contributes to their unhealthy weight gain.
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Based on this survey’s results, every one in four Malaysian adults over 16 years of age is living a sedentary lifestyle. It means he is not physically active majorly relying on technology even for doing the most basic routine tasks. Moreover, the survey also showed that more than 90% of the Malaysian population is not consuming the recommended fruits and vegetable amount.
The average life expectancy in Malaysia is 75 years, which is significantly lesser than in many other countries. The medical experts believe that obesity and health conditions like heart diseases, liver diseases, and diabetes are contributing a lot to this. But it doesn’t mean that this situation will remain the same for the future.
Fortunately, overweight and obesity are preventable by changing their lifestyle and diet. Dr. Norliza Ahmad is a public health expert who believes in three categories; diet, physical activity, and environment that could change this weight gain. When half of the Malaysians are obese, they need to understand the significance and value of healthy lifestyle changes and follow them for good.