Malaysia the only nation in SEA with triple malnutrition burden

Malaysia the only nation in SEA with triple malnutrition burden

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is the sole Southeast Asian nation that is facing triple malnutrition burden, stated the Malaysian Dietary Supplements Association (MADSA) in its report on the industry status and outlook report for 2019 to 2020.

Referring to Global Nutrition Report 2018, it stated that Malaysia is facing the problem of overweight and obesity, stunting which is more prevalent in suburban areas and anemia among women.

Anemia affects about 30% of Malaysian women and it is more prevalent among pregnant women, at 40%.

In terms nutrient consumption, it was found that Malaysians are under consuming nine nutrients to the point of having health risks.

The nine are calcium, fruits, legumes, milk, nuts and seeds, Omega-3, polyunsaturated fat, vegetables and whole grain.

Malaysians are also at risk of over consuming processed meat, red meat, salt, sugar sweetened beverages and trans fat.

This has resulted in the rise of non-communicable diseases which are made up of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes melitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) and various forms of cancers.

The report also noted that as Malaysia becomes an aged nation by the year 2030, mental health issues would supersede heart problems in this country.

Those who are 60 years and above can prevent facing the risk of ischaemic heart disease, cerebrovascular diseases and colon, rectum and anus cancer which can be prevented with the intake of fruits, vegetables, grains and milk.

In terms of prevalent physical health ailments, up to 30% are overweight. Malaysians are the fattest in the region, with 18% being obese.

Up to two out of five are diabetic patients. A total of 30% of Malaysians are suffering from hypertension. Up to 48% of Malaysians are having hypercholesterolemia. A total of 25% are anemic, particularly among women.

By 2030, mental health issues would supersede heart diseases. The National Health and Morbidity Survey revealed that three in 10 Malaysians above the age of 16 suffer from one form of mental health ailment.

Among teenagers aged 13 to 17, one in five suffer from depression, two in five suffer from anxiety and one in ten suffer from stress.

Anemia, which means iron deficiency, is serious among Malaysian women. Up to 30% of women aged between 15 to 49 are afflicted with anemia. 

Among pregnant women, 80% to 90% have low iron status and 40% of pregnant women are afflicted with anemia.

A forum of panellist discussed the issue of doctors being a barrier to supplementary diet after the launch of the report.

By K Pragalath

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