Reasons Why Obesity is Common Among Malaysian

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Obesity is one of the major public health issues among Malaysian and is associated with a variety of serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain types of cancer.

While we know that many of us are subject to a sedentary lifestyle and find it difficult to resist delicious but often unhealthy local food, we ignore the fact that Malaysia was Asia’s fattest country with having the highest rate of obesity. According to Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Hilmi Yahya, there were about 3 million obese Malaysians and the number has increased to about 5 million individuals who suffer from varying degrees of diabetes.

How did we end up with these statistics? Take a look at the causes of obesity in Malaysia.

Unhealthy meal options

One of the common causes of obesity is the consumption of unhealthy foods. For example, a bubble tea serving has an average of 20 teaspoons of sugar which is too much for just one drink, while a 100g serving of Nasi Lemak amounts to 585 calories. We are aware that our foods are gastronomically amazing and delicious, but to eat Nasi Lemak or curry laksa for every meal is bad to our health not just because of the high amount of calories, but the lack of nutrients in each Malaysian food.

Spending too much time at the office desk

According to a survey by Herbalife, 9 out of 10 Malaysian workers spent at least 6 hours a day sitting at their desk. Plus, 5 out of 10 eat lunch at their work desk, two to five times a week. Hence prolonged sitting hours have been shown to lead many health problems such as osteoporosis, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Less exercise

Most of Malaysians spend their leisure time watching television, playing computer games, eating, idling or reading. However, going for exercise at the park or a gym is not part of the Malaysian culture. Lack of physical activities contributes the fact that Malaysia is the “Most Obese Country” in Asia, along with an already sedentary lifestyle. 

Driving instead of walking

It is common knowledge that public transport in Malaysia is not as good as it should be as Malaysians prefer to own a car to drive everywhere they go. Unfortunately, this can cause horrendous traffic congestion during peak hours and environmental pollution, as well as obesity. To curb these and get active, take every opportunity to walk to your lunch place, around your office, or walk up flights of stairs.

In conclusion, it is important for us to get fit and live healthy by instilling healthy eating habits and doing more exercise so that we can keep our fitness level up!

Any causes of obesity that we miss out in this article? Share your opinions on the comment section below! Don’t forget to head over to and unveil your next job opportunity!

Sarah Sahadin or known as Sarah S., is a Digital Marketer-cum-Junior Graphic Designer and Malay-language content writer who writes career, lifestyle and current trending contents to engage Malay readers, informing about the latest trends happening around. Sarah also has a passion for motorsport (can be spotted at Sepang Circuit on some certain weekends) and enjoys manga illustration during her free time.

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