Blame obesity on late night binge, says expert

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PETALING JAYA: The habit of going out for supper is the main cause of obesity in the country, according to Mohd Ismail Noor, who is the president of the Malaysian Association for the Study of Obesity.

Speaking at a recent conference on the dangers facing the country’s increasingly overweight population, Ismail said: “Malaysians should be sleeping in the early hours of the morning, not eating and watching football at a 24-hour restaurant,” Asia Times reported yesterday.

He also said that eating traditional all-day favourites like “teh tarik”, and carbohydrate-laden “nasi lemak”, which is considered the country’s national dish, just compounds the seriousness of the obesity and diabetes crisis in Malaysia.

“Why do we give Malaysians an option to eat 24 hours? At 3am you should be sleeping, not sitting in mamak restaurants watching Euro Cup,” Ismail was quoted by the news portal.

He also cited the latest Unicef regional report on nutritional security in Asean which shows that more than 7 per cent of Malaysian children under the age of five are overweight.

The Asia Times reported that compared with the rest of mainland Asia, Malaysians are the most overweight with 18 per cent of the overall population considered obese and a further 30 percent at the overweight level.

Statistics show that 20 years ago, there were only 4.4 per cent of Malaysians who could be classified as obese.