Malaysia has held the dubious record of being the "fattest country" in Asia the last few decades, and the problem is worsening, the Health Ministry has warned.

In a parliamentary written reply yesterday, the ministry cited the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2019, which said that out of 50.1 percent Malaysian adults, 30.4 per cent were found to be overweight, and 19.7 percent were obese.

One is defined as being overweight when he/she has a Body Mass Index (BMI) of between 25.0 and 29.9kg/m2, while obesity is when one's BMI reaches 30.0kg/m2 and above.

In conjunction with World Obesity World today, here are some facts about the health condition that you should know about:

1) Obesity is linked to more than 60 chronic diseases

Your risk of contracting dozens of diseases and conditions is higher when you are overweight or obese. These include type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and many other diseases.

2) Overweight children are more likely to become overweight adults

Children who are overweight or obese are five times more likely to have the same issues when they grow up, compared to children of normal weight. This can cause health complications later in life.

3) The bigger your waist size, the higher your chance for diabetes

According to research, men with waist circumferences in the highest 10 percent of measurements were 20 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than men whose waist circumferences fell in the lowest 10 percent.

4) Obesity causes more deaths than being underweight

Not surprising, given that this condition causes many diseases. In fact, obesity is one of the top five leading causes of death globally, causing more than 2.8 million deaths each year. The other four leading causes are high blood pressure, tobacco use, high blood glucise, and physical inactivity.

5) Your ethnicity can affect your likelihood of obesity

It is indeed in the genes. In America, study has shown that almost half (48.4 percent) of non-Hispanic Black people are obese, followed by the Hispanics (42.6 percent), non-Hispanic white people (36.4 percent), and non-Hispanic Asians (12.6 percent).

6) Obesity is most common in middle age

Adults aged between 40 and 59 are more likely to have obesity. In the US, more than 40 percent of adults between these ages have obesity, and another one-third of those aged 60 and above obesity. This is much higher than the 32.3 percent of adults aged 20 to 39 who have obesity.

7) Obese individuals miss more work

Overweight individuals miss approximately two additional days of work than the average three days of working days per year missed by normal weight employees, research have showed.

As morbid as these facts may seem, the good news is that obesity is largely preventable. Stick to a healthy diet and an adopt a regular exercise routine to maintain a healthy weight.

Source: The Star,
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