KUALA LUMPUR - Far too many Malaysians are married too early in life, compromising not only their health but also their chances of development in a productive labour force.
United Nations resident coordinator in Malaysia Michelle Gyles-McDonnough said the "too early" marriages usually involved young people below 18 years of age.
"The 2010 population census indicated that about 80,000 married women in the country were aged between 15 and 19 years, while the corresponding number of young married men was 70,000.
"Far too many young people are married very early, putting their mental and physical health at risk because they have to shoulder the commitments of marriage," she told reporters after launching the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) State of the World Population 2014 report here yesterday.
The report highlighted that there were 1.8 billion young people aged between 10 and 24 worldwide, most of whom were based in developing countries.
However, it noted that child marriages were among several challenges these countries, including Malaysia, had to manage if they were to drive socio-economic growth.
"Couples who marry too young are not equipped to be part of a productive labour force within a high-income nation, rather, they are relegated to a life of dependency.
"Also, child marriage, because it usually results in early pregnancy, is linked to deaths from complications arising during pregnancy and childbirth," said Gyles-McDonnough.