Dateline Southeast Asia

Malaysia diabetes rate doubles since 2011

By Richard Whitehead

- Last updated on GMT

Malaysia diabetes rate doubles since 2011

Related tags Nutrition

An official study has shown that the instance of diabetes had more than doubled in Malaysia over the last four years.

The failure of Malaysians to control their diets, even when they are aware of the impact of poor nutrition on their health, is behind a rise in this rate, said Rokiah Don, a director in Malaysia’s Ministry of Health, quoted by Malaysia's official news agency, Bernama.

She said statistics from the National Health and Morbidity Survey showed that the number of adult diabetes patients had increased to 31% this year, up from 15.2% in 2011, and that this increase also correlates with the growth in the number of people who are obese. 

Rokiah added: “We are worried because more and more young people are suffering from diabetes, considering the fact that this non-communicable disease before used to only affect those who were older​.” 

Thailand downgrades its export forecast

A gloomy economic climate is among the factors leading the Federation of Thai Industries to cut its export growth forecast by two percentage points from 6.9%. 

Boonpeng Santiwattatam said last year’s food exports had reached just over THB1tr (US$28bn), but with several negative factors persisting, a cut in expectations is needed. 

A recent drought that has cut Thailand’s agricultural output has also hit the food processing sector significantly, leading to falling production capacity and lower exports.

To this end, the federation hopes that rising demand in ASEAN countries will help offset the dip. 

Rampant chemical adulteration forces Vietnam to farm family’s produce separately

Vietnamese farmers set aside two separate areas for planting their produce: one for sale and the other for the family’s consumption as chemical contamination runs riot in the country.

Deputy prime minister Vu Duc Dam confirmed this at a recent meeting to discuss the rampant use of chemicals in agricultural production.

According to the health ministry’s food safety unit, 3,100 Vietnamese have suffered from food poisoning during the first seven months this year, with 19 of them dying. In many cases, these illnesses are due to chemical adulteration of produce.

Vietnamese also have a problem increasing their nutritional intake, according to figures released by the National Nutrition Institute.

Each person consumes just 200 grams of vegetables a day—a quantity that has remained unchanged since 1985.

This equates to just half of World Health Organisation guidelines. Moreover, the consumption of sugar and starch has doubled in 10 years, from 16 grams per capita a day in 2005 to 33 grams today.

Malaysian halal shipments jump 59% year on year

Malaysia’s halal food exports in the first financial quarter of this year were 59% higher than the corresponding period in 2014, reaching almost RM5.7bn (US$1.4bn), with China the main buyer.

Halal Industry Development Corporation chief executive Jamil Bidin said wider halal exports stood at RM38bn last year, from RM32bn the year before, with the trend expected to continue.

“As one of the country’s engines of growth, the halal industry is expected to contribute 5.8% to the gross domestic product by 2020 from less than 2% currently,” Bidin told StarBiz​.

The global halal market is currently estimated at US$2.3tr and covers a wide range of products and services including food and beverage.

Asian countries are increasingly seeking to tap into the lucrative global halal market, with China, Singapore and Japan already active and the Philippines having expressed an interest to embark on the sector.

Malaysia, which has devised one of the few multinationally recognised halal certification systems, is believed by many to lead the way in this regard.

AAK to relocate Asia management from Sweden to Singapore

AAK, the European specialist in edible oils and fats, will relocate its management team for Asia from Scandinavia to the company’s office in Singapore next month.

This relocation will allow us to even better pursue our global growth strategy and it will further strengthen our presence in the strategically very important Asian market​”, said Torben Friis Lange, AAK’s Asia chief. 

AAK is also in the process of constructing a speciality and semi-speciality edible oils factory in Zhangjiagang, China. This is expected to open in the first half of 2016.

Asean companies have key role in sustainable nutrition

Companies must collaborate in nutritional innovation and promoting healthier food choices to make sure there is enough food available in Southeast Asia, according to a report by FrieslandCampina.

Piet Hilarides, the Dutch dairy co-operative’s Asian head, said the study cited a collaboration between his own company and Rabobank on financing and technical support for local dairies as an example of this sort of collaboration. 

Other examples of promoting healthier eating and lifestyles amongst consumers were a ‘Drink Move Be Strong’ programme fostering balanced diet and exercise for healthy living among children; FairPrice’s food waste reduction framework, and the ‘Responsible Advertising to Children Pledge’ in Singapore​,” said Hilarides.

McDonald’s Delight 500 kcal meals, Nestle’s work with Singapore’s A*STAR to research on biotransformation, Cargill’s animal feed innovation and Tetra Pak’s school milk programme in Myanmar were also detailed in the report, which was compiled in partnership with Forum for the Future, a sustainability non-profit.  

Ariel Muller, its regional director, said, “The report truly affirms and underscores the ability of multi-stakeholder partnerships to address complex sustainability challenges​.  

We hope that this report brings about meaningful and credible contributions to strengthen and advance food and nutrition security in Southeast Asia​.”

Related topics Research

1 comment


Posted by Tyler mall,

I was diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes and put on Metformin on May 21st, 2014. I started the ADA diet, using it as directed for weeks – still my blood glucose did not get below 140. I questioned my doctor about my options and he said I would be on metformin the rest of my life – until moving to insulin. Meds were the only option he gave me. Then, I found the Diabetes Destroyer book ( review: ) It made sense and opened my eyes to the possibility of all natural, home diabetes treatment. I started to implement David Andrew’s methods the very next day. I’ve lost over 40 pounds and 7 inches on my waist in a month. I have more than enough energy to workout twice daily and still power through. I almost fell for the trap the pharms have set up for people like us, but I got lucky. Open your minds people and try alternative methods, these corporations are making their money from us being sick.

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