NHMS Survey: One-Third Of Malaysian Teens Are Overweight Or Obese

The NHMS 2022 finds 1 in 3 Malaysian teens aged 13-17 is overweight/ obese, 4 in 5 are physically inactive, 2 in 3 lead sedentary lifestyles, 1 in 3 drink soft drinks daily, 1 in 10 eat fast food at least 3 days/ week, 4 in 5 don’t eat enough fruits & veg.

KUALA LUMPUR, June 1 – The National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2022 has indicated a worrisome decline in the overall health and lifestyle habits of Malaysian teenagers.

The survey points to a rising prevalence of obesity, physical inactivity, sedentary behaviour, poor dietary choices, and excessive consumption of carbonated soft drinks and fast food among local adolescents aged 13 to 17 years.

According to the NHMS: Adolescent Health Survey 2022, approximately one in three Malaysian adolescents is classified as overweight or obese, as of last year. 

The survey also highlighted that a staggering four in five adolescents are physically inactive, with two in three adolescents leading predominantly sedentary lifestyles.

Unhealthy dietary patterns were another area of concern. The NHMS 2022 revealed that four in five adolescents do not consume an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables. 

This lack of nutrients in their diet can negatively impact their growth, development, and immune system, making Malaysian teenagers more susceptible to illnesses and diseases.

The 2022 survey by the Institute for Public Health (IKU) at the Ministry of Health (MOH) also pointed to a high consumption of carbonated soft drinks among Malaysian adolescents, with one in three individuals drinking these beverages on a daily basis last year.

The survey further revealed a distressing dietary habit among adolescents, with one in 10 consuming fast food at least three days a week. 

The frequent consumption of fast food, which is typically high in unhealthy fats, sodium, and calories, can lead to various health problems, including obesity, high cholesterol, and an increased risk of chronic diseases.

The NHMS 2022 involved the collection of data from June 12 to July 8, 2022. The study focused on secondary school students within the age range of 13 to 17.

The NHMS 2022 findings for teenagers closely mirror the results of the NHMS 2019, indicating a worrisome consistency in the health landscape. 

The NHMS 2019 had revealed that half of adult Malaysians were classified as overweight or obese. An overwhelming 95 per cent of Malaysian adults fell short of consuming the recommended daily servings of vegetables.

MOH’s Malaysian Dietary Guidelines advocate a minimum of two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables per day.

The NHMS findings underscore an urgent need to address the prevailing nutritional deficiencies and promote healthier eating habits among the population.

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