- Malaysia has the most number of fat people in the Asean region.
- During the last 10 years, the number of fat people in Malaysia has more than doubled, resulting in more Malaysians falling ill with diseases such as hypertension and diabetes.
- 48 percent of Malaysian men and 62 percent of Malaysian women are fat.
- Malaysian Indians are the fattest at 63.4 percent followed by Malays (53.5 per cent), Chinese (50.8 per cent) and others (45.2 percent).
- 13.5 percent of the Malaysian adult population is diabetic, compared with only 8.3 percent in 1996.
You can read more about this new report here.
I wonder how my good friend Bayi will react to this. Bayi is my best friend in Malaysia, and when I met him, he certainly looked healthier than I was at the time. Then again, Bayi is very health-conscious, and he may not be the typical Malaysian if we are to believe the survey above.
If Malaysians are indeed getting heavier and bigger waistlines, I think it is because their country is improving in terms of progress. The more developed a country becomes, the better the lifestyle. You know what I mean. There are more delicious food available and people tend to have less physical activity to burn their excess calories. More cars mean less time walking. Extra calories always translate to fat and waist circumferences of more than 90cms or 35.4 inches for men and more than 80cms or 31.5 inches for women. The MySon survey used waist circumference as their test for abdominal obesity. This is a much better obesity detector than BMI, which has its limitations.
In the Philippines, 21 percent of Filipino adults are obese. 22 percent of them are in Cebu, Bacolod and Iloilo, and 19 percent of them are in Manila. [source: Philippine News Online, Sept 2006]
Since we are still very much a third-world country, it might take some time before we overtake Malaysia in the heavyweight category. Why can't progress also mean a healthier lifestyle? Is it human nature to take things easy when life is good?