Surge in number of overweight, obese M'sians over past decade, national survey shows

PUTRAJAYA: There has been a surge in the number of overweight and obese Malaysians in the past decade, according to the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2023.

"A persistent rise in the prevalence of overweight and obese individuals was observed. The number has surged by nearly 10% over a decade from 44.5% in 2011 to 54.4% in 2023," the report stated.

Based on the report, the trend of being overweight and obese is measured by a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 or more.

Also noted in the report was that abdominal obesity among adults Malaysians also saw a surge of nearly 10%, from 45.4% in 2011 to 54.5% in 2023.

Abdominal obesity is measured based on a waist circumference of 90cm or more for men and 80cm or more for women.

Meanwhile, the NHMS noted that 95.1% of adult Malaysians do not consume adequate fruits and vegetables.

"On average, adults consume only two servings of fruits or vegetables instead of the recommended five servings," the report stated.

One serving of vegetables is equivalent to a 250ml cup of raw vegetables or a half-cup of cooked vegetables.

One serving of fruit is equivalent to one medium apple or banana, half a guava or a slice of papaya.

Based on the report, 13.5% of Malaysians above 60 have adequate fruit intake while it was at 13.9% for those between 50 and 59 years old.

The lowest intake was from those age between 18 and 19 years old (7.1%) followed by the 20 to 29 band (9%), 30 to 39 (11.4%) and 40 to 49 (12.7%)

The NHMS 2023 also noted that one in five Malaysians do not drink enough plain water every day, with the proper daily intake set at between six to eight 250ml glasses of water daily.

The NHMS 2023 Report is based on data collection sessions conducted between July and September last year.

A total of 13,616 respondents participated in the survey, representing an overall response rate of 83.2%.

The NHMS report was launched by Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad.

Also launched during the event was the Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) Malaysia 2023.

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