According to the Malaysian National Census data, the demographic pattern of Malaysia was found to be rapidly changing, with the rural population speedily decreasing. Thus, the data indicated that the distribution of the Malaysian population by the year 2000 was 40.4 % as rural population and 59.6% comprising of the urban population (Department of Statistics Malaysia, 2009). In this respect, there has been a drastic change in the health state of Malaysia, where the non-communicable diseases have rapidly increased as the major causes of death compared to the communicable diseases (Anand, et al. 2008).
Thus, the rapid change in the social geographical setting from the rural-based population to a more urban-based population serves as one of the major factors influencing the rate and geographical distribution of heart disease in Malaysia (Chia & Srinivas, 2009). The social demographic patterns have indicated that there has been a rapid change of lifestyle in this country courtesy of urbanization, resulting to the increase of the heart disease risk factors, such as obesity. Statistics have indicated that the rate of obesity in Malaysia has tripled within the decade closing the 20th century, with the obesity rate registered in the country increasing from 4.4% in 1996 to 14% in 206 (Department of Statistics Malaysia 2009).
Further, the health data statistics have also indicated that the rate of hypertension has increased from 33% to 43% in the same period, while the rate of diabetes mellitus has been found to have doubled for the same period. Another aspect of the lifestyle change is the rise in the rate of tobacco use in the urban areas of Malaysia, where hypertension has also been observed to have the highest rate of prevalence (Chia & Srinivas, 2009).