Compiled by The Ricebowl Asia
“We’re good at publishing obesity plans, but not funding action”: Dr E-Siong Tee, the president of the Nutrition Society of Malaysia described his country’s efforts at improving health in a nation where one-in-two adults are overweight or obese.
Dr E-Siong Tee took the stage at the Food Vision Asia summit too discussed the obesity problem in Malaysia where he said is worse than any other parts of Asia.
“Every other adult and 30% of school children are overweight or obese and so are 15% of toddlers. Undernutrition is not so much of a problem, but we still have 7% of infants who are stunted.”
Dr Tee reported that while Malaysia currently going through the economic and social burden of obesity, there are yet any funding plans to tackle the problem.
He also quoted several national plans that were published but said very few had led to coherent public policy initiatives.
“We are good at launching plans, but we must be serious about implementing them,” he mentioned at a rountable session featuring members of Asia Roundtable of Food Innovation for Improved Nutrition.
“There is a major financial obstacle because there are no dedicated funds to implement these plans. Although there are strategies for government, NGOs and private companies with only piecemeal budgets,” he added.
The Ricebowl Asia: Malaysians need to see the problem clearly and nip it immediately before it gets worse. Albeit funding is low, there are still ways to educate and contain the obesity epidemic. As the food experts of Asia, we have been pushing food and nutrition messages across social media (The Ricebowl Asia facebook page) hence, we feel that the Malaysian Health Authority or other food expert can look deeper into educating via social media platforms as it is the least costly but still able to reach millions.