VN has highest obesity rate in SEA
14:59 | 22/07/2019

VGP – Viet Nam had the highest rise in the number of obese people -- those with a body mass index above 25 -- in the five years through 2014, at 38%, followed by Indonesia at 33%, according to a research from Fitch Solutions Macro Research.

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Obesity is rising fast in Southeast Asia, putting strain on healthcare systems and government budgets, particularly in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia.

Viet Nam had the biggest increase in the number of obese people. However, as a proportion of the population, Viet Nam still had the lowest share of obesity at 3.6%, far behind Malaysia’s 13.3% and compared with Indonesia’s 5.7%. 

According to the research, the improving economic standards in the region have brought about lifestyle changes, which in turn have led to a shift to more unhealthy diets. Food of low nutritional value is more easily and widely available due to its low cost and the introduction and adoption of Western dietary habits.

The health risks of rising obesity result in mounting healthcare costs for treatment of chronic diseases including diabetes and heart disease, the Fitch analysts said.

Malaysia has the highest costs as a result of high obesity, making up as much as a 20% share of overall of healthcare spending, they estimate.

The jump in obesity in many countries through 2014 caps a longer-term trend in Asia Pacific from 1990, when 34.6% of adults were overweight or obese. By 2013, that tally had risen to 40.9%, the data show./.

By Khanh Phuong

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