Although there is enough food in the world to feed everyone, almost a billion people go to bed hungry every day. One in nine people on Earth (around 795 million people) do not have enough food to lead an active and healthy life. Malnutrition in Asia, especially in Malaysia, is among one of the biggest problems the region is facing. Despite Malaysia’s economic prosperity and affluent resources, there are still a high percentage of malnourished households suffering from food insecurity. The high obesity rate along with the amount of malnourished people living in Malaysia sheds light on the inequalities that exist within the country, inequalities that reflect the great divide between the rich and poor. According to the National Health and Morbidity Survey, there are currently 30 million people (9.5 million are children) living in Malaysia. Among the population, 17.2 percent children are stunted, while 12.5 percent are underweight. On the other hand, 44 percent of the population is overweight, while an estimated 15 percent is considered obese. The total number of people with obesity exceeds that of any other country in Southeast Asia. These two issues are causing a significant divide in the realm of malnutrition within the country. Recently, The Star Online reported that children in low-cost flats in Kuala Lumpur face poverty and malnutrition. “Children in low-cost flats live in Kuala Lumpur, within easy proximity to amenities-yet have less access to nutritious food, don’t go to pre-school, live in perceived unsafe area and have less opportunity to learn and play than most other children in Malaysia.” said UNICEF representative in Malaysia, Marianne Clark-Hattingh. The study also noted that poverty impairs the education opportunities of children living in low-cost flats. This makes them more vulnerable to malnourishment and potentially damaging their cognitive development. Besides that, rural areas in Malaysia have a high rate of malnourished children, especially in indigenous regions. More specifically, malnutrition in Orang Asli is among the more prevalent areas, reported by the Children’s Rights Coalition in Malaysia. In indigenous regions, lack of access to clean water, land and food contribute to malnutrition. Additionally, communicable diseases passed on as a result of poor sanitation also cause underweight and malnourished children. By 2030, the goals should be accomplished; end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture.


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