Malaysia is the fattest country in Southeast Asia, according to its Health Minister.
Liow Tiong Lai says that obesity is on the rise in Thailand’s southern neighbour, with 2.6 million Malaysian adults obese and 477,000 children considered overweight.
“This is not a glorious title. We are outweighing our Asean neighbours and number six in the whole of Asia – behind some Middle Eastern countries,” Mr Liow told The Star.
Statistics from Malaysia’s National Health and Morbidity Survey show that 15.1% of Malaysians aged 18 and above were suffering from obesity as of 2011.
“This is an increase from the 14% figure of the same demographic in 2006,” Mr Liow said.
Mr Liow warned that modern technology could be contributing to a rise in non-communicable diseases among Malaysians, including diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular problems.
“This exciting era of electronic gadgets and instantaneous communication is actually a double-edged sword,” he said.
“We are increasingly becoming couch potatoes; we are not leading an active enough lifestyle to prevent ourselves from becoming obese, which is a precursor to many health problems.”