The malnutrition in Malaysia facts and statistics show an interesting trend. There are many children who are overweight, while there is also a fair percentage of children who are overweight or obese.
Thanks to an economic growth rate of 7% over the course of the last generation, poverty in Malaysia has been all but eliminated. In the last 50 years, the number of households living in poverty has gone from over 50% to less than 1%. Yet despite these economic gains, there are an estimated 400,000 children in Malaysia suffering from malnutrition in some form.
Why is this happening?
1. Not every household has access to sanitary resources.
For households that are living in the indigenous regions of Malaysia, there is a struggle to find access to clean water. A lack of healthy food options and land resources is also contributing to the issue. This creates conditions where there is poor sanitation, which spreads communicable diseases throughout local communities and contributes to the malnutrition issues.
2. There is corruption within the government.
In the past, the problem of malnutrition in Malaysia was attempted to be resolved by distributing baskets of essential food items and vitamins to families who were living in poverty. Because of the corruption of government officials, many households did not receive the intended benefits to help lift them out of the dangers of malnutrition.
3. Socioeconomic status affects food security.
There is a dramatically higher level of food insecurity for the rural areas of Malaysia when compared to its urban areas. This is because there are still inequalities which exist along socioeconomic lines. A great divide exists between those who are wealthy and those who are in poverty and that is reflected in the number of children who are dealing with malnutrition.
4. Many families are dealing with low birthweights.
In data collected from 2008-2012, more than 10% of newborns in Malaysia are born with a low birth weight. The percentage is equal to the number of children who are underweight in the country.
5. There are clear ethnic divides which also contribute to the issue.
One of the most affected regions in Malaysia for malnutrition is the Orang Asli. It means the “original” or “first” people of Malay and is a group term for about 150,000 people who are in 18 different ethnic groups and are believed to be descendants of the nation’s original inhabitants. They live a hunting and gathering lifestyle, with some rice cultivation, so a poor season contributes to the malnutrition issue.
6. Malaysia has also had religious elements in play since the 1980s.
The government of Malaysia has also created various departments that are aimed at ethnic minorities as an effort to get them to convert to a religion of preference. Enticements are offered for conversions, yet outside pressure regarding land rights and forest access continues to mount.
The malnutrition in Malaysia facts and statistics show that this is a complex issue which has unique influential factors that contribute to the problem. Each issue must be addressed independently in order for poverty and malnutrition rates to continue declining.
Crystal Lombardo is a contributing editor for Vision Launch. Crystal is a seasoned writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience. She has been an editor of three popular blogs that each have had over 500,000 monthly readers.