Medical Journal of Malaysia

MJM, Vol 70 Supplement 1 September 2015

Escalating prevalence of overweight and obesity among Malaysian adults: after a 10 years period

Azli Baharudin

Institute for Public Health, Ministry of Health Malaysia


Introduction: The rising in overweight and obesity prevalence has gained increasing attention in Malaysia. This study focuses on the prevalence of overweight and obesity among adults in Malaysia after 10 years.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out among Malaysia population aged 18-59 years old. Data were derived from the Malaysian Adults Nutrition Survey (MANS) conducted in 2003 and 2014. The respondents were interviewed using structured questionnaires.

Results: Based on the World Health Organization (1998) classification, the national prevalence of overweight has increased tremendously over 10 years; from 26.7% (95% CI: 25.5-28.0) in MANS 2003 to 32.4% (95% CI: 30.3-34.6) in MANS 2014. The prevalence of obesity had increased substantially from 12.2% (95% CI: 11.3-13.1) in MANS 2003 to 18.5% (95% CI: 16.6-20.5) in MANS 2014. Women reported a significantly higher prevalence of obesity compared to men. The prevalence of overweight and obesity increased from 24.8% and 14.7%, respectively, in 2003 to 31.4 and 22.9%, respectively, in 2014 among women. Among men, the prevalence of overweight 28.6% and obesity 9.7% in 2003 increased to 33.3% and 14.5%, respectively, in 2014.

Conclusion: The prevalence of obesity was notably higher among women. There was an increasing trend in prevalence of overweight and obesity between the years 2003 and 2014. Thus, public health intervention programmes should be intensified and prioritised to combat obesity, particularly among women.

Keywords: overweight, obesity, Malaysian Adults Nutrition Survey (MANS)