Malaysians are Southeast Asia’s fattest, but Vietnam is catching up fast

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Malaysians Are Southeast Asia’s Fattest, But Vietnam Is Catching Up Fast
Source: WHO

The number of overweight and obese people is rising in Southeast Asia, with Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines affected the most, while the problem is growing fastest in countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia, putting a strain on healthcare systems and government budgets.

Malaysia is not only Southeast Asia’s, but Asia’s fattest country with almost half of the population overweight or obese, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

WHO data shows that Malaysia has a share of 44.4 per cent of adult people of both sexes (18 years and up) who have a Body Mass Index of higher than 25 kg/qm, which is considered overweight. Thailand is following with 32.2 per cent, ahead of Singapore with 30.2 per cent and the Philippines with 26.5 per cent.

The number of obese people in Malaysia (defined as having a Body Mass Index of more than 30 kg/qm) is also the highest in Southeast Asia with 13.3 per cent.

The health risks result in mounting healthcare costs for treatment of chronic diseases including diabetes and heart disease, analysts say. Malaysia has the highest costs as a result of high obesity, making up as much as an estimated 20-per cent share of overall of healthcare spending.

While Vietnamese are the slimmest people on the list, forecasts are alarming. Vietnam had the biggest increase in the number of overweight and obese people in the past five years at 38 per cent, followed by Indonesia at 33 per cent. However, as a proportion of the population, Vietnam still had the lowest share of obese people with 3.6 per cent, compared with Indonesia’s 5.7 per cent.

Obesity means having too much body fat. It is different from being overweight, i.e. weighing too much. However, both terms mean that a person’s weight is greater than that considered healthy for a person’s body height.

Calorie intake and output varies with individuals, and in the same individual, with age. The factors that affect body weight include genetics, over-eating and lack of exercise.

“The improving economic standards in the region have brought about lifestyle changes, which in turn have led to a shift to more unhealthy diets,” a recent analysis of research firm Fitch Solutions Macro Research said.

“Food of low nutritional value is more easily and widely available due to its low cost and the introduction and adoption of Western dietary habits,” it added.

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Source: WHO The number of overweight and obese people is rising in Southeast Asia, with Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines affected the most, while the problem is growing fastest in countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia, putting a strain on healthcare systems and government budgets. Malaysia is not only Southeast Asia’s, but Asia’s fattest country with almost half of the population overweight or obese, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). WHO data shows that Malaysia has a share of 44.4 per cent of adult people of both sexes (18 years and up) who have a Body Mass Index...

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Malaysians Are Southeast Asia’s Fattest, But Vietnam Is Catching Up Fast
Source: WHO

The number of overweight and obese people is rising in Southeast Asia, with Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines affected the most, while the problem is growing fastest in countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia, putting a strain on healthcare systems and government budgets.

Malaysia is not only Southeast Asia’s, but Asia’s fattest country with almost half of the population overweight or obese, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

WHO data shows that Malaysia has a share of 44.4 per cent of adult people of both sexes (18 years and up) who have a Body Mass Index of higher than 25 kg/qm, which is considered overweight. Thailand is following with 32.2 per cent, ahead of Singapore with 30.2 per cent and the Philippines with 26.5 per cent.

The number of obese people in Malaysia (defined as having a Body Mass Index of more than 30 kg/qm) is also the highest in Southeast Asia with 13.3 per cent.

The health risks result in mounting healthcare costs for treatment of chronic diseases including diabetes and heart disease, analysts say. Malaysia has the highest costs as a result of high obesity, making up as much as an estimated 20-per cent share of overall of healthcare spending.

While Vietnamese are the slimmest people on the list, forecasts are alarming. Vietnam had the biggest increase in the number of overweight and obese people in the past five years at 38 per cent, followed by Indonesia at 33 per cent. However, as a proportion of the population, Vietnam still had the lowest share of obese people with 3.6 per cent, compared with Indonesia’s 5.7 per cent.

Obesity means having too much body fat. It is different from being overweight, i.e. weighing too much. However, both terms mean that a person’s weight is greater than that considered healthy for a person’s body height.

Calorie intake and output varies with individuals, and in the same individual, with age. The factors that affect body weight include genetics, over-eating and lack of exercise.

“The improving economic standards in the region have brought about lifestyle changes, which in turn have led to a shift to more unhealthy diets,” a recent analysis of research firm Fitch Solutions Macro Research said.

“Food of low nutritional value is more easily and widely available due to its low cost and the introduction and adoption of Western dietary habits,” it added.

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