KUALA LUMPUR: The number of Malaysians suffering chronic non-communicable diseases is alarmingly high, says Deputy Health Minister Dr Lee Boon Chye.
His warning comes after a Health and Morbidity Survey in 2015 found that 47.7% of Malaysians had high cholesterol levels while 17.7% were deemed obese.
"Non-communicable chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidaemia (high cholesterol levels) among Malaysians above 18 is very high.
"Some 17.5% or 3.6 million Malaysians suffer from diabetes," he said when answering a question raised by Datin Mastura Mohd Yazid (BN-Kuala Kangsar) in Parliament. (July 17).
He said the survey found that 5.5% out of the 3.6 million were aged between 18 and 19; 5.9% were between 20 and 24, and 8.9% were between 25 and 29.
"The survey also estimated that 17.6% of Malaysians have a BMI of more than 39kg per square metre or obese. Of this, 11.7% were those between 18 and 19 years old," he said.
He added that obesity was also prevalent between the 20 and 24 years old (12%) and 25 and 29 years old (18.3%) age groups.
Dr Lee said that 47.7% Malaysians had high cholesterol with 22% being between 18 and 19 years old.
He noted that 26.5% of those with high cholesterol were between 29 and 24 years old and 33.7% among those between 25 and 29 years old.
Besides this, he said that 30.3% of Malaysians have hypertension, of which 6.7% were between 18 and 19 years old.
He said the disease also affected 9.4% between 20 and 24 years old and 13.2% between 25 and 29 years old.
Dr Lee said reminded Malaysians – particularly the young – to lead healthier lifestyles as "prevention is better than cure".