The rate of obesity* is expected to soar with the proposed lowering of the World Health Organisation's body mass index (BMI, body weight/height2) reading.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said Malaysia's overweight and obesity problems may be more serious compared with other countries in the region.
Based on the current WHO cut-off points of BMI 25 for overweight and BMI 30 for obesity, the National Health & Morbidity Survey conducted by the Ministry of Health in 1996 reported that 16.6% of Malaysian adults were overweight and another 4.4% were obese; that is, 1 in 5 adults were either overweight or obese. The report also revealed a disturbing scenario where there was little difference in prevalence between the urban and rural populations.
Ten years later, the National Health & Morbidity Survey of 2006 involving 33,465 eligible individuals, revealed that some 29% of adult Malaysians were overweight. Among the ethnic groups, Indians had the highest prevalence of overweight, followed by Malays and Chinese.
The 2006 study also identified 14% of the adult population as obese. In short, 43% of adult Malaysians, or 2 in 5, were now either overweight or obese.
In recent years, reports are emerging to suggest the need to lower the WHO BMI cut-off points for obesity to 23 and 27.5 respectively for Asian populations. This is because of their higher risk of obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and abnormal cholesterol at lower BMIs.
With this recommendation the rate of obesity is expected to soar putting the country on par with the United States and some European Union countries.
Wow, Malaysia Boleh!
In reality, obesity has significant detrimental effects on just about every major organ and is associated with significant morbidity, mortality and health care costs. In addition obesity can have a negative impact on your quality of life.
|Potential concerns with obesity|
|Organ system||Health effects|
|Cancers||Men: oesophageal, stomach, coorectal, liver, gallbladder, pancreatic, prostate, kidney, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, multiple lymphoma, leukemia|
|Women: uterine, cervical, ovarian, breast, colorectal, liver, gallbladder, kidney, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, multiple lymphoma, leukemia|
|Cardiovascular||Atherosclerosis, myocardial infaction, stroke|
|Dermatologic||Acanthosis nigricans (hyperpigmentation), skin tags, acne, boils, hirsutism, gynoid lipodystrophy (cellulite), stretch marks, varicose veins.|
|Endocrine||Insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes mellitus|
|Gastrointestinal||Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, gallbladder disease|
|Musculoskeletal||Osteoarthritis and degenerative foot disease|
|Pulmonary||Obstructive sleep apnoea|
|Reproductive||Men: Premature teststerone decline, erectile dysfunction|
|Women: polycystic ovary syndrome|
If you do not want to be part of this dubious Malaysian record, here’s what you can do:
CLICK HERE to calculate your BMI and adjust for your age
If you’re overweight, set a six months target to bring down your weight by 10%, i.e. if you are 165cm tall and weighing 70kg, you should try to shed 7kg in that period.
You do this by eating wisely and putting in a minimum 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical exercise, eg brisk walking, 5 times a week....and enjoying it!
* Obesity is described as an excessive amount of adipose tissue, which is defined in young adults as body fat > 25% in males and > 32% in females. The percentage of body fat can be directly measured by a number of methods including underwater weighing, deuterium dilution, dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), and skinfold thickness measurements; however, the applications of these direct methods are limited to laboratory settings or small samples.
However these direct approaches are time-consuming, expensive, and not generally available. Thus, the body mass index (BMI) has been adopted to evaluate body composition by measuring the individual's body weight/height2 (kg/m2).
The Star 10/4/2010
Nutritional Status of Adults Aged 18 Years and Above http://www.nih.gov.my/NHMS/
Brown WV, Fujioka K, Wilson PW, Wood KA. Obesity: why be concerned? Am J Med. 2009 Apr;122(4 Suppl 1):S4-11Picture:http://meetinthelobby.