Obesity in Malaysia

Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, University Kebangsaan Malaysia, Kuala, Lumpur.
Obesity Reviews (Impact Factor: 8). 08/2002; 3(3):203-8. DOI: 10.1046/j.1467-789X.2002.00074.x
Source: PubMed


This study was undertaken to assess the recent data on Malaysian adult body weights and associations of ethnic differences in overweight and obesity with comorbid risk factors, and to examine measures of energy intake, energy expenditure, basal metabolic rate (BMR) and physical activity changes in urban and rural populations of normal weight. Three studies were included (1) a summary of a national health morbidity survey conducted in 1996 on nearly 29 000 adults > or =20 years of age; (2) a study comparing energy intake, BMR and physical activity levels (PALs) in 409 ethnically diverse, healthy adults drawn from a population of 1165 rural and urban subjects 18-60 years of age; and (3) an examination of the prevalence of obesity and comorbid risk factors that predict coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes in 609 rural Malaysians aged 30-65 years. Overweight and obesity were calculated using body mass index (BMI) measures and World Health Organization (WHO) criteria. Energy intake was assessed using 3-d food records, BMR and PALs were assessed with Douglas bags and activity diaries, while hypertension, hyperlipidaemia and glucose intolerance were specified using standard criteria. The National Health Morbidity Survey data revealed that in adults, 20.7% were overweight and 5.8% obese (0.3% of whom had BMI values of >40.0 kg m(-2)); the prevalence of obesity was clearly greater in women than in men. In women, obesity rates were higher in Indian and Malay women than in Chinese women, while in men the Chinese recorded the highest obesity prevalences followed by the Malay and Indians. Studies on normal healthy subjects indicated that the energy intake of Indians was significantly lower than that of other ethnic groups. In women, Malays recorded a significantly higher energy intake than the other groups. Urban male subjects consumed significantly more energy than their rural counterparts, but this was not the case in women. In both men and women, fat intakes (%) were significantly higher in Chinese and urban subjects. Men were moderately active with the exception of the Dayaks. Chinese women were considerably less active than Chinese men. Chinese and Dayak women were less active than Malay and Indian women. In both men and women, Indians recorded the highest PALs. Hence, current nutrition and health surveys reveal that Malaysians are already affected by western health problems. The escalation of obesity, once thought to be an urban phenomenon, has now spread to the rural population at an alarming rate. As Malaysia proceeds rapidly towards a developed economy status, the health of its population will probably continue to deteriorate. Therefore, a national strategy needs to be developed to tackle both dietary and activity contributors to the excess weight gain of the Malaysian population.

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    • "Obesity was the main driving force in the recognition of MS (Eckel, Grundy, & Zimmet, 2005). Findings in the NHMS II in 1996 showed that 20.7% of Malaysian adults were overweight, while 5.6% were obese (Ismail et al., 2002). The prevalence of overweight and obesity in the MANS of 2003 were 26.7% and 9.3%, respectively (Azmi et al., 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Metabolic syndrome has been associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes mellitus. The objective of this study was to determine gender differences in the prevalence and factors associated with metabolic syndrome in a rural Malay population. This cross-sectional study, conducted in Bachok, Kelantan, involved 306 respondents aged 18 to 70 years. The survey used a structured questionnaire to collect information on demographics, lifestyle, and medical history. Anthropometric measurements, such as weight, height, body mass index, waist and hip circumference, and blood pressure were measured. Venous blood samples were taken by a doctor or nurses and analyzed for lipid profile and fasting glucose. The overall prevalence of metabolic syndrome was 37.5% and was higher among females (42.9%). Being unemployed or a housewife and being of older age were independently associated with metabolic syndrome in a multivariate analysis. Weight management and preventive community-based programs involving housewives, the unemployed, and adults of poor education must be reinforced to prevent and manage metabolic syndrome effectively in adults.
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    • "Those having higher activity also had lower BMI. Such an association is in line with previous studies.14–18 "
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    ABSTRACT: Reliable evidence is the keystone for any noncommunicable disease (NCD) prevention plan to be initiated. In this study we carried out a risk factor investigation based on the WHO Stepwise approach to Surveillance (STEPS). The study was conducted on 1000 adults between 15 and 64 years of age living in Ardabil province, north-west Iran during 2006, based on the WHO STEPS approach to surveillance of risk factors for NCD. At this stage only the first and second steps were carried out. Data were collected through standard questionnaires and methods analyzed using STATA version 8 statistical software package. 29.0% of men and 2.6% of women were current daily tobacco smokers. The mean number of manufactured cigarettes smoked per day was 18.9 among current daily smokers. Smoking was most prevalent among men of low-income families and those of lower education. The mean body mass index (BMI) was 26.6 kg/m(2), and was significantly correlated with systolic blood pressure. 58.9% were overweight or obese; 18.0% had raised blood pressure and 3.7% had isolated systolic hypertension. The mean number of servings of fruit consumed per day was 1.1; 33.1% had low levels of activity. Combined risk factor analysis showed that 4.1% of participants were in the low-risk group (up to 5.1% among men and 3.2% among women). Those in the high-risk group comprised 25.6% in the 25- to 44-year age group and 49.7% in the 45- to 64-year age group. Mean BMI increased by age in both sexes at least at the first three decades of adult life. Based on observed status of risk for cardiovascular health, burden of cardiovascular diseases is expected to increase if an effective prevention strategy is not undertaken.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2011 · Vascular Health and Risk Management
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    • "Specifically, affluent Malay and Chinese individuals have a higher propensity to be overweight while Indians/others in poverty-income brackets are more likely to be underweight. These outcomes can be attributed to the unhealthy eating habits and largely sedentary lifestyles which may contribute to overweight and obesity among higher income individuals (Ismail et al. 2002). Although the literature correlating family health history and body weight status is scant, we find a strong association between family health history and BMI. "
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate the roles of sociodemographic and health lifestyle factors in affecting body mass index (BMI) across ethnic groups in Malaysia. Data are obtained from 2,436 observations from the Malaysia Non-Communicable Disease Surveillance-1. The multi-ethnic sample is segmented into Malay, Chinese, and Indian/other ethnicities. Ordered probit analysis is conducted and marginal effects of sociodemographic and health lifestyle variables on BMI calculated. Malays between 41 and 58 years are more likely to be overweight or obese than their 31-40 years counterparts, while the opposite is true among Chinese. Retirees of Chinese and Indian/other ethnicities are less likely to be obese and more likely to have normal BMI than those between 31 and 40 years. Primary educated Chinese are more likely to be overweight or obese, while tertiary-educated Malays are less likely to suffer from similar weight issues as compared to those with only junior high school education. Affluent Malays and Chinese are more likely to be overweight than their low-middle income cohorts. Family illness history is likely to cause overweightness or obesity, irrespective of ethnicity. Malay cigarette smokers have lower overweight and obesity probabilities than non-cigarette smokers. There exists a need for flexible policies to address cross-ethnic differences in the sociodemographic and health-lifestyle covariates of BMI.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2011 · International Journal of Public Health
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