Obesity in Malaysia has reached ‘alarming level’, warns MOH

Out of 50.1% of Malaysian adults, 30.4% were overweight and 19.7% obese, according to a 2019 survey.


March 4, 2022

KUALA LUMPUR – Half of the Malaysian adult population is either overweight or obese, with the Health Ministry warning that the matter was reaching an alarming level.

Out of 50.1% of Malaysian adults, 30.4% were overweight and 19.7% obese, according to the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2019.

Obesity rates are also rising each year, from 14% in 2006 to 15.1% (2011) and 17.7% (2015) according to the NHMS studies conducted then. The next study will be conducted in 2024.

“The problem of obesity and being 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 and 29.9 kg/m2, while for obesity, the BMI is from 30.0 kg/m2 and above,” the ministry said in a written parliamentary reply at the Dewan Rakyat here yesterday.

Datuk Dr Shahruddin Md Salleh (Pejuang-Sri Gading) questioned the Health Minister about the obesity rate in the country and what the ministry was doing about it.

To address the issue, the ministry said a working committee it formed produced a 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’s food and beverages with high contents of fats, salt and sugar,” said the ministry.

It has also formulated the National Plan of Action for Nutrition of Malaysia (2016-2025), National Strategic Plan for Non-Communicable Disease (2016-2025) and a Policy to Combat Obesity (2016-2025) as the framework for action to address food and nutrition challenges in the country.

Today is World Obesity Day.

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