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Govt concerned on the increase of obesity problems among M’sians

05 Dec 2019 / 17:04 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: The government is concerned with obesity cases among Malaysians which is said to be the highest among Asian countries.

Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad (pix) said several long-term action plans have been developed to address the problem, namely the National Plan of Action for Nutrition Malaysia III (NPANM III) (2016-2025), the National Strategic Plan for Non-Communicable Disease (NSPNCD) (2016-2025) and the National Strategic Plan for Physical Activity (2017-2025).

“The government was very sensitive and concerned about the growing problem of obesity among Malaysians.

“We have been ranked as the highest in obesity among Asian countries and for child obesity between nine and 19 years old, we are ranked as second highest among Asean countries. This is definitely a very worrying matter,“ he told the Dewan Rakyat sitting here today.

He was responding to Nurul Izzah Anwar (PH-Permatang Pauh) who wanted to know the Ministry’s holistic plan to reduce the number of obese people; and the effectiveness of the sugar tax imposed on target groups since July 1, 2019, in transforming nutritional habits and absorbing tax revenues into the cost of the school free food programmes.

Dr Dzulkefly noted that the Committee to Tackle Obesity Issues had been formed and the committee has come out with 48 policies and would be implemented in phases over a period of 10 years (2016-2025).

“For example, the sugar tax on sugary beverages has been implemented since July 2019,“ he said.

He said the effectiveness of the sugar excise tax on sugary beverages could be seen in the reform of sugar content in beverage products by respective companies and based on the latest data, 17 beverage companies have reformulated 83 types of sugary beverage products.

“...to see the effectiveness of the sugar tax in changing the Malaysian nutritional habits, in 2021, the ministry plans to conduct a study on the effectiveness of this excise tax after two years of implementation in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) Malaysia,“ he said. — Bernama

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