Obesity has been a serious health issue in Malaysia. Over half of Malaysian adults are either overweight or obese, with obesity rates increasing every year, according to the Health Ministry (KKM).
KKM also shared that out of 50.1% of Malaysian adults, 30.4% were overweight and 19.7% were obese.
According to the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2019, it is said that obesity rates had been on the rise and it stood at 17.7% in 2015, 15.1% in 2011 and 14% in 2006.
This was revealed during the parliament session on 3 March.
“The problem of obesity and overweight in Malaysia is now at an alarming level.”
“The definition of being overweight is having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of between 25.0 to 29.9 kg/m2, while for obesity, the BMI is from 30.0 kg/m2 and above,” said the ministry in a written parliamentary reply.
This was in response to a question by Sri Gading MP Datuk Dr Shahruddin Md Salleh, who asked the Health Minister to state the level of obesity in the country and drastic actions by the Ministry to reduce the rates.
The ministry added that they had established a working committee, which has developed the Policy Option To Combat Obesity in Malaysia document outlining 48 policies to tackle obesity in the country.
“Until 2022, a total of 10 policies have been implemented, including mandating a weight management programme at selected ministries or departments, imposing an excise tax on sweet sugary drinks and pre-mixed beverages, as well as enforcing a ban on advertising to children foods and beverages with high contents of fats, salt and sugar,” said the ministry.
The ministry had also formulated the National Plan of Action for Nutrition of Malaysia (2016-2025), the National Strategic Plan for Non-Communicable Disease (2016-2025) and a Policy to Combat Obesity (2016-2025) as a framework to tackle the issue.