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World experts enlist to help Malaysia mitigate problem of poorer nutrition as incomes rise

With health problems like obesity and diabetes on the rise due to changing diets in emerging economies, Malaysia is forging new linkages between domestic and international scientists and institutions in hopes of mitigating the problem.

It will also team with world experts to further secure its domestic food supply from anticipated shocks due to climate change and global supply chain disruptions.

Food security and nutrition research are among the main topics under discussion by Malaysia's Global Science and Innovation Advisory Council (GSIAC) a unique assembly of all-star international and Malaysian experts and leaders created to support sustainable development for Malaysia chaired by Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

Statistics presented show the percentage of calories Malaysians derive from cereals, starchy roots, fruits and vegetables has dropped from roughly 60% in 1960 to just under 50%, the dietary difference being made up by more meat, fish, eggs, milk, sweeteners, oils and fat. Meanwhile, the availability of sugar and sweeteners in Malaysia was almost 50 kg per capita in 2007, second only to the USA at 67 kg.

And the health impacts are significant. Compared with a population snapshot in 1986, almost twice as many Malaysians are now considered overweight (29.4%) and obesity has almost quadrupled (to 15.1%). The percentage of Malaysians with high blood pressure has more than doubled to roughly one in three while Type 2 diabetes patients have more than tripled to 22%.

At the meeting, Malaysia's health ministry formalized a partnership agreement with the international Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science, providing the country's health officials and scientists with access to extensive new global resources.

In December, Malaysia will participate in the launch of the Sackler Institute / World Health Organization's collaborative "Global Research Agenda for Nutrition Science" i

Contact: Terry Collins

Mansurah Raisa
+60 (0)166681210
Malaysian Industry‑Government Group for High Technology

Diana Friedman
New York Academy of Sciences


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