Science Advisor to the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Zakri Abdul Hamid, said new findings from British medical journal, The Lancet, showed that 49% of women and 44% of men in this country were found to be obese.
"This is a very big problem because it has implication on diabetes, heart problem and others and our Prime Minister has also asked the global science and innovation advisory council to work on this," he told reporters.
According to a new study published last month by The Lancet, Malaysia was rated heavyweight at 45.3% of its population, followed by South Korea (33.2%), Pakistan (30.7%) and China (28.3%).
Zakri was at the launch of the United Nations University-International Institute for Global Health (UNU-IIGH) at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) medical centre here.
Present were Rector of UNU Dr David M. Malone and Director of UNU-IIGH Prof Anthony Capon.
Zakri said the presence of the UNU-IIGH would help the government to find a way to solve the issue in this country.
Malone said UNU-IIGH would emphasise on several key issues of universal concerns like physical and mental health hazards posed by the world's rapid ongoing urbanisation.
"This UNU-IIGH in Malaysia will also look at the policy level that plays an equal importance towards meeting the needs for integrative thinking about health, climate change, urbanisation and biodiversity loss," he said.
The UNU-IIGH here was founded in 2007 and is one of 13 UNU institutes and programmes located in 12 countries.
The mission of the UNU-IIGH is to build knowledge and capacity for decision-making about global health issues. - Bernama