KUALA LUMPUR: According to the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2015, almost one in five Malaysian adults has diabetes.
This statistic exceeds the Health Ministry's 2014 projection, which predicted that the milestone would only be reached in 2020.
Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah today blamed Malaysians' love of food and the sedentary lifestyle for the alarming and accelerated increase.
"In fact, the survey revealed that 1.8 million out of 3.5 million Malaysians diagnosed with diabetes were not even aware they were afflicted with the chronic disease.
“The (faster-than-expected) rise (marks a) 17.5 per cent (increase over the) rate recorded in 2011," Noor Hisham said after opening the Malaysian Diabetes Educators Conference 2017, today.
To address the trend, he said education and awareness programmes need to be aggressive and persuasive.
"Transformation of mindset is the challenge. Knowing (about diabetes) is one thing, but doing something about it is another thing," he said, stressing that the two-fold increase is caused by human behaviour.
The National Health and Morbidity Survey is carried out every five years. The 2015 survey was the ministry's fifth.