Illustrative photo (Source: AFP/VNA)

Kuala Lumpur (VNA) – Malaysia has the highest obesity rate in Southeast Asia, according to a report on obesity in ASEAN nations conducted by the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU).

The report was made based on surveys in six Southeast Asian countries including Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.

According to the report, the obesity rate in Malaysia stood at 13.3 percent, while the overweight rate was at 38.5 percent.

The situation cost the country between 4.26 billion MYR and 8.53 billion MYR (1-2 billion USD), equivalent to 10-19 percent of Malaysia’s healthcare spending.

Many factors were attributed the high obesity rate such as Malaysians’ love for fast food and their rich culinary culture. Besides, few Malaysians regard obesity as a dangerous health issue.

The report showed that obesity rates varied depending on ethnic, genetic, regional and economic differences. The EIU stressed the role of policy makers to identify at-risk communities to devise policies and targeted interventions.-VNA