At least, 48 percent of Malaysians, of whom 15.2 percent are adults, are obese, based on a National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) in 2011.

Public Health Institute (IKU) director Dr Mohd Tahir Aris, who disclosed this, said it showed that the number of adults suffering from diabetes had gone up by 3.6 percent compared to 11.6 percent during the national survey in 2006.

"One in every three adult Malaysians is found to have high blood pressure while infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and vector borne diseases such as dengue fever are still hard to curb and always need appropriate attention," he said.

He said this to reporters after a ceremony to launch the 2015 National Health and Morbiditi Survey at Bukit Merah Laketown Resort here, Friday.

Malaysians had the highest rate of obesity in the Asian region in 2011, he added.

Earlier, Health deputy director-general (Research and Technical Support) Dr Shahnaz Murad said the Health Ministry (KKM) had picked 10,000 houses randomly with 40,000 respondents nationwide for the 2015 NHMS.

"Fifty-seven data gathering teams comprising research supervisors, nurses and part-time workers nationwide have been trained in preparation for the survey.

"The data-gathering survey, which will be conducted house-to-house, will be carried out from March to June," he said.

He said the modules entered into 2015 NHMS, among others, were related to cardiovascular diseases, namely, diabetes, hypertension, blood cholesterol level, smoking, lack of physical activities and diet status.

"Other than the main module, other modules found in 2015 NHMS include adult and children mental health, tuberculosis and leprosy, dengue fever and traditional and complementary treatments," he said.

According to Shahnaz, the findings of NHMS would assist KKM in evaluating, planning and implementing numerous health programmes in the country.

"The outcome of the survey can support periodical monitoring activities of non-communicable diseases other than contributing to the evaluation of the National Strategic Plan Indicator to tackle health problems in Malaysia," he said.

His speech text was read by Mohd Tahir.