400,000 on brink of diabetes, says Chua

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 23 Apr 2003

KUALA LUMPUR: At least 400,000 Malaysian adults above 30 may become diabetics if they do not change their diet, step up their exercise and reduce their weight, Health Minister Datuk Chua Jui Meng said. 

The ministry, he said, was concerned over the fact that 4.3% of Malaysian adults were suffering from impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) which could lead to Type 2 diabetes if the condition is not controlled. 

“If they (those suffering from IGT) do not take preventive measures, their condition could progress into diabetes and lead to complications such as heart failure, kidney failure and asthma,” he told reporters after launching the Diabetes Education Programme here yesterday. 

He said if the third National Health and Morbidity Survey was carried out, there was a possibility that the percentage could increase to over 10% or one million people.  

Chua cited the Da-Qing Study in China in 1997, which showed a 46% decrease in progression from impaired glucose tolerance to full-blown diabetes over a six-year period as a result of a dietary modification programme and increased physical activities with a consequent weight reduction. 

He said the Diabetes Prevention Programme in the United States results have also shown that the at-risk population could delay or prevent the development of Type 2 diabetes by 58% with just a reasonable amount of exercise and changes in diet. 

“So think about it. By shedding a mere 10 to 15 pounds by cutting down on fat intake and exercising half an hour a day, people at risk of diabetes can significantly reduce their chances of getting the disease.” 

Chua said Type 2 diabetes, which usually afflicts people over 40, accounted for almost 95% of diabetic population in the country.  

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