Malaysians are eating too much oily and fatty food and this has caused the obesity level to rise even among young children.

Nutrition Society of Malaysia (NSM) president Dr Tee E Siong said that the public should follow the Malaysian Dietary Guidelines closely to enjoy a healthier lifestyle.

“The guidelines explain in detail the recommended servings and people should not exceed the limit,” he said when asked about Malaysia ranking sixth among Asian countries with the highest percentage of obese people.

He also said Malaysians should follow the food guide pyramid as it provides correct information about maintaining a good diet.

Dr Tee said that taking excessive amounts of carbohydrates and protein would result in the extra calories being converted to fat.

“The lack of physical activity and the combination of excessive fat will cause people to become obese,” Tee said.

He advised Malaysians to take more vegetables, fruits and nuts daily because it would decrease the chance of them getting obese and developing heart disease and other illnesses.

Malaysian Diabetes Association president Prof Dr Ikram Shah Ismail described as worrying that Malaysia was one of the countries with the highest percentage of obese people.

He said this was probably due to the type of food Malaysians eat.

“Locals visit fast food restaurants and mamak stalls frequently as it is fast and cheap,” he said.

He pointed out that children now prefer to eat fast food which is high in fat and calories.

Dr Ikram said that it was worrying that children had been introduced to fast food at such an early age.

“There are a lot of awareness programmes conducted by the Health Ministry but so far nothing has changed,” he added.

Dr Ikram said going to the gym or dieting was not necessary as long as Malaysians increased their daily physical activities.

He cited parking a little further from the office and taking the stairs instead of the lift as good habits.

Source: The Star Online @ 10/12/2010.