In the wake of the country’s increasing obese population, Mohd Ismail Noor, president of the Malaysian Association for the Study of Obesity, said: “Malaysians should be sleeping in the early hours of the morning, not eating and watching football at a 24-hour restaurant.”
At a recent conference on the dangers facing the country’s increasingly overweight population, co-organized by Unicef, Noor said, “Why do we give Malaysians an option to eat 24 hours? At 3am you should be sleeping, not sitting in mamak restaurants watching Euro Cup.”
He also blamed Malaysian favourites like ‘teh tarik,’ a heavily sweetened form of tea, and carbohydrate-laden ‘nasi lamak,’ the country’s national dish, for obesity and diabetes crisis.
According to the findings of the latest Unicef regional report on nutritional security in Asean countries, more than 7% of Malaysian children under the age of five are overweight.
Overall, the country is considered to be the most overweight in mainland Asia, with 18% of the population obese and a further 30% overweight, whereas 20 years ago just 4.4% of Malaysians was classed as obese.