Dewan Rakyat: Malaysia has the highest obesity rate in SEA


MALAYSIA has the highest obesity rate in South East Asia and is ranked sixth in the Asia-Pacific region, the House heard yesterday.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Rosnah Shirlin said this was cause for concern considering three million of the 28 million Malaysians were diagnosed with diabetes, a disease closely  associated with obesity.

It was reported that an overweight or obese person was at  a higher risk at getting diabetes, heart attack, high blood  pressure and cancer.

In 2006, the National Health Morbidity Survey found that  43.1 per cent of the adult population were overweight, with  14 per cent of them obese.

Rosnah said the latest survey revealed that some three  million of the 28 million Malaysians had diabetes.

“The number of Malaysians diagnosed with diabetes had  increased by two-folds from 1.5 million in 2006 to about 3  million now.

“The report will be available at the end of this year," she  said to a supplementary question by Salahuddin Ayub (PAS- Kubang Kerian) at question time.

Salahuddin had asked on the numbers of diabetic patients  in Malaysia and the measures taken to curb the problem.

Rosnah said the daily sugar intake among Malaysians was  too high, at 51 grams, which is above the recommendation by  the World Health Organisation at 50 grams.

“In our own survey conducted in 2002 to 2003, we found  that in average Malaysians consume seven tablespoons of  artificial sweeteners, four table spoons of sugar and 3 spoons  of condensed milk in their drinks,"  she said in reply to an  earlier question from  Dr Tan Seng Giaw (DAP-Kepong).

"This is something which we should think together and to  promote awareness among the people to take action to  reduce sugar intake.”

Rosnah also said of the 1,266 food samples analysed in  2009, 92 samples or 7.3 per cent were found to have too much  sugar.

Last year, 2,004 samples were analysed of which 108  samples or 5.4 per cent found to have excessive amount of  sugar, she said.

Rosnah said the government was also concerned that many  people had yet to go for tests to diagnose and detect diabetic- related health problems.

"We estimate about 2 million people have not received any  treatment on diabetes," she added.

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