15.1 per cent of adults are obese

Minister of Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing, Datuk Fatimah Abdullah (second left) presents a certificate of appreciation to the SMK Sacred Heart principal, David Teo, witnessed by organising chairman Dr Gregory Hii Sui Cheng.

SIBU: According to the statistics from the National Health and Morbidity Surveys (NHMS), at least 35 per cent of Malaysians, of whom 15.1 per cent are adults, are obese.

Minister of Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing, Datuk Fatimah Abdullah said obesity was a growing problem and it was often associated with the riches of a developed country.

“As our economy grows, food shortage is basically unheard of. Within a period of three decades, Malaysia has undergone a transition from under-nutrition to relatively over-nutrition.

“A survey by the Ministry of Health in 2012 revealed that just over a quarter of Malaysian school children are either obese or overweight,” she said here on Wednesday.

Fatimah also said regardless of age, ethnic and social status, the prevalence of obesity was largely a result of rapid development in Malaysia.

She said the accelerated phase of industrialisation and urbanisation in recent decades had inevitably brought changes to the lifestyle of the people.

“Sarawak is not an exception when it comes to obesity. The obesity rate in Sarawak is on the rise, especially those in the middle age, making the state no different than the expanding waistbands recorded overall in Malaysia, Asean’s most obese nation,” she said.

Fatimah also said the campaign against obesity/overweight carried out by Delta Leasing Sdn Bhd, as part of its CSR project, to raise awareness of the dangers of obesity was a good project.

To address obesity problem, she said “Prevention is better than cure, that’s why we need to focus on young children, who are increasingly displaying signs of becoming overweight even before they enter school.

“Besides elucidating the role of diet and physical activity, managing obesity is a shared responsibility involving government, industry, professional bodies, non-governmental organisations, communities and individuals,” she said.

Fatimah said working groups must be formed in communities, schools, health care facilities and workplaces to educate the public on healthy eating and staying active.

Also present at the event were Sibu Police chief, ACP Saiful Bahri, Sibu Deputy Resident, Wong Hee Sieng, Sibu District deputy education officer, Salemah Chali and SMK Sacred Heart principal, David Teo.