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  1. Wafa SW, Shahril MR, Ahmad AB, Zainuddin LR, Ismail KF, Aung MM, et al.
    PMID: 27146199 DOI: 10.1186/s12955-016-0474-y
    Research suggests that physical activity plays a role to improve health related- quality of life (QoL), however studies examining the association between physical activity and HRQOL are limited in the paediatric literature. The aim of this study is to explore the relationship between physical activity and HRQoL among Malaysian children.
  2. Ahmad A, Zulaily N, Abdul Manan NS, Shahril MR, Syed Saadun Tarek Wafa SW, Mohd Amin R, et al.
    BMC Public Health, 2017 01 05;17(1):9.
    PMID: 28056904 DOI: 10.1186/s12889-016-3911-2
    BACKGROUND: Body weight is highly associated with overall health status. Being severely thin or obese may impose the risk of many health problems. Early detection of body mass index (BMI) status may help to reduce the associated comorbidities. Although many studies in the literature have investigated the BMI of school adolescents in Malaysia, the data on status of body weight among school adolescents in suburban states like Terengganu is limited. This study aimed to describe the body weight status of the whole population of school adolescents in all seven districts in Terengganu, Malaysia.

    METHODS: Using a cross-sectional study design, body weight and height were measured, and BMI was calculated and classified using WHO BMI-for-age Z-score. Data was obtained using the National Fitness Standard (SEGAK) assessment, which was uploaded in a specific Health Monitoring System (HEMS).

    RESULTS: From a total of 62,567 school adolescents, 50.7% were boys and 49.3% were girls. Girls had significantly higher BMI than boys in age groups of 13 to 15 and 16 to 17 years old. Among boys and girls, there were significant differences in mean BMI of school adolescents between rural and urban school locations in all age groups (p 

  3. Wafa SW, Talib RA, Hamzaid NH, McColl JH, Rajikan R, Ng LO, et al.
    Int J Pediatr Obes, 2011 Jun;6(2-2):e62-9.
    PMID: 21604965 DOI: 10.3109/17477166.2011.566340
    CONTEXT: Few randomized controlled trials (RCTs) of interventions for the treatment of childhood obesity have taken place outside the Western world.
    AIM: To test whether a good practice intervention for the treatment of childhood obesity would have a greater impact on weight status and other outcomes than a control condition in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
    METHODS: Assessor-blinded RCT of a treatment intervention in 107 obese 7- to 11-year olds. The intervention was relatively low intensity (8 hours contact over 26 weeks, group based), aiming to change child sedentary behavior, physical activity, and diet using behavior change counselling. Outcomes were measured at baseline and six months after the start of the intervention. Primary outcome was BMI z-score, other outcomes were weight change, health-related quality of life (Peds QL), objectively measured physical activity and sedentary behavior (Actigraph accelerometry over 5 days).
    RESULTS: The intervention had no significant effect on BMI z score relative to control. Weight gain was reduced significantly in the intervention group compared to the control group (+1.5 kg vs. +3.5 kg, respectively, t-test p < 0.01). Changes in health-related quality of life and objectively measured physical activity and sedentary behavior favored the intervention group.
    CONCLUSIONS: Treatment was associated with reduced rate of weight gain, and improvements in physical activity and quality of life. More substantial benefits may require longer term and more intensive interventions which aim for more substantive lifestyle changes.
  4. Sulaiman S, Shahril MR, Wafa SW, Shaharudin SH, Hussin SN
    Asian Pac J Cancer Prev, 2014;15(14):5959-64.
    PMID: 25081729
    BACKGROUND: Dietary carbohydrate, fiber and sugar intake has been shown to play a role in the etiology of breast cancer, but the findings have been inconsistent and limited to developed countries with higher cancer incidence.

    OBJECTIVE: To examine the association of premenopausal and postmenopausal breast cancer risk with dietary carbohydrate, fiber and sugar intake.

    MATERIALS AND METHODS: This population based case-control study was conducted in Malaysia with 382 breast cancer patients and 382 controls. Food intake pattern was assessed via an interviewer-administered food frequency questionnaire. Logistic regression was used to compute odds ratios (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) and a broad range of potential confounders were included in analysis.

    RESULTS: A significant two fold increased risk of breast cancer among premenopausal (OR Q4 to Q1=1.93, 95%CI: 1.53-2.61, p-trend=0.001) and postmenopausal (OR Q4 to Q1=1.87, 95%CI: 1.03-2.61, p-trend=0.045) women was observed in the highest quartile of sugar. A higher intake of dietary fiber was associated with a significantly lower breast cancer risk among both premenopausal (OR Q4 to Q1=0.31, 95%CI: 0.12-0.79, p-trend=0.009) and postmenopausal (OR Q4 to Q1=0.23, 95%CI: 0.07-0.76, p-trend=0.031) women.

    CONCLUSIONS: Sugar and dietary fiber intake were independently related to pre- and postmenopausal breast cancer risk. However, no association was observed for dietary carbohydrate intake.

  5. Hamzaid H, Talib RA, Azizi NH, Maamor N, Reilly JJ, Wafa SW
    Int J Pediatr Obes, 2011 Oct;6(5-6):450-4.
    PMID: 21767214 DOI: 10.3109/17477166.2011.590206
    BACKGROUND:Quality of life (QoL) is impaired in childhood obesity, but the literature on this is all from Western countries. Aim. To test for impairment of QoL in obese children in Malaysia, using parent-reported and child-reported QoL.
    METHODS:Health-related Quality of Life was measured using the Paediatric Quality of Life Inventory version 4.0. Comparison of QoL between a community sample of 90 obese children (as defined by US CDC and Cole-IOTF definitions), median age 9.5 y (interquartile range [IQR] 8.6, 10.5 y) and 90 control children of healthy weight (BMI less than the 85th centile of US reference data), median age 10.0 y (IQR 9.6, 10.5 y). Children were matched pair-wise for age, gender, and ethnic group, and controls were recruited from schools in the same area as obese participants.
    RESULTS:For child self-report, the healthy weight group had significantly higher QoL for the physical (median 82.9, IQR 65.7, 90.6), and psychosocial domains (median, 73.3, IQR 64.4, 83.3), and total QoL (median 76.1, IQR 64.1, 84.8) compared to the obese group (median 67.2, IQR 59.4, 81.3; median 62.5, IQR 53.3, 75.4; median 60.9, IQR 50.8, 73.9; all p < 0.001). There were no significant differences between the obese and healthy weight group for parent-reported physical health, psychosocial health, or total QoL.
    CONCLUSION:Obese children in Malaysia have markedly poorer QoL than their peers, but this is not evident when parent reports of QoL are used.
    Study name: Malaysian Childhood Obesity Treatment Trial (MASCOT)
    Study site: Two primary schools, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  6. Wafa SW, Aziz NN, Shahril MR, Halib H, Rahim M, Janssen X
    J Trop Pediatr, 2017 04 01;63(2):98-103.
    PMID: 27539845 DOI: 10.1093/tropej/fmw052
    This study describes the patterns of objectively measured sitting, standing and stepping in obese children using the activPALTM and highlights possible differences in sedentary levels and patterns during weekdays and weekends. Sixty-five obese children, aged 9-11 years, were recruited from primary schools in Terengganu, Malaysia. Sitting, standing and stepping were objectively measured using an activPALTM accelerometer over a period of 4-7 days. Obese children spent an average of 69.6% of their day sitting/lying, 19.1% standing and 11.3% stepping. Weekdays and weekends differed significantly in total time spent sitting/lying, standing, stepping, step count, number of sedentary bouts and length of sedentary bouts (p < 0.05, respectively). Obese children spent a large proportion of their time sedentarily, and they spent more time sedentarily during weekends compared with weekdays. This study on sedentary behaviour patterns presents valuable information for designing and implementing strategies to decrease sedentary time among obese children, particularly during weekends.
  7. Ahmad A, Zulaily N, Shahril MR, Wafa SW, Mohd Amin R, Piernas C, et al.
    BMC Pediatr, 2021 09 23;21(1):418.
    PMID: 34556071 DOI: 10.1186/s12887-021-02899-3
    BACKGROUND: Childhood obesity has been associated with increased odds of adult obesity and co-morbidities in later life. Finding the key determinants may help in designing the most appropriate and effective interventions to prevent obesity. This study aimed to identify the determinants of obesity among school adolescents in a sub-urban state of Malaysia.

    METHODS: This cross-sectional study involved 1,404 school adolescents aged 12 years (46% boys and 54% girls). Socio-demographic, dietary and physical activity data were collected using questionnaires whilst body weight and height were measured and body mass index was classified based on WHO BMI-for-age Z-scores cut-off.

    RESULTS: A multivariable linear regression model showed that BMI z-score was positively associated with parents' BMI (P<0.001), birth weight (P=0.003), and serving size of milk and dairy products (P=0.036) whilst inversely associated with household size (P=0.022). Overall, 13.1% of the variances in BMI Z-scores were explained by parents' BMI, birth weight, servings of milk and dairy products and household size.

    CONCLUSION: This study found important determinants of body weight status among adolescents mainly associated with family and home environmental factor. This evidence could help to form the effective and tailored strategies at the earliest stage to prevent obesity in this population.

  8. Wafa SW, Hamzaid H, Talib RA, Reilly JJ
    J Trop Pediatr, 2014 Apr;60(2):161-3.
    PMID: 24213306 DOI: 10.1093/tropej/fmt093
    The present study examined objectively measured physical activity in Malaysian children and compared the differences in physical levels between obese and healthy weight children. Eighty-six obese children were matched for age and sex with 86 healthy weight children with median age 9.5 years. Habitual physical activity and sedentary behaviour were measured over 5 days using Actigraph accelerometers. Time spent sedentary was significantly higher in the obese group (90% vs. 86% of daytime; p = 0.001). Moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity was significantly higher in the healthy weight group (1.2 vs. 0.7% of daytime, p < 0.001). In both healthy weight and obese children, physical activity levels were exceptionally low, although moderate-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity was significantly lower in the obese group than the healthy weight group. Efforts to prevent and treat obesity in Malaysian children will need a substantial focus on the promotion of reductions in sedentary behaviour and increases in physical activity.
  9. Wafa SW, Ghazalli R
    PLoS One, 2020;15(4):e0232000.
    PMID: 32330177 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0232000
    With the on-going interest in implementing school policies to address the problem of childhood obesity in Malaysia, there is urgent need for information about the association between school environment and children's weight status. This study aims to investigate the association between school environmental factors (physical, economic, political and sociocultural) with BMI of school children in Terengganu. The school environment factors were assessed using a set of validated whole-school environmental mapping questionnaires, consisting of 76 criteria with four domains; physical environment (41 criteria), economic environment (nine criteria), political environment (nine criteria) and sociocultural environment (17 criteria). This involved face-to-face interview sessions with 32 teachers from 16 schools (eight rural and eight urban). In addition, 400 school children aged between 9 and 11 years of the selected schools were assessed for BMI (WHO 2007 reference chart), dietary intake (food frequency questionnaire (FFQ)) and physical activity level (physical activity questionnaire for children (PAQ-C)). Multiple regression was used to examine the association between school environment factors and BMI of the school children. Seven school environment criteria were found to be associated with BMI of school children when it was adjusted for calorie intake and physical activity level. About 33.4% of the variation in BMI of school children was explained by health professional involvement, simple exercise before class, encouragement to walk/ride bicycle to/from school, no high-calorie food sold, healthy options of foods and drinks at tuck shop, availability of policy on physical activity and training teacher as a role model. Policy makers should make urgent actions to address the obesogenic features of school environments. It should strive towards setting up healthy school environment and improving school curricula to promote healthy behaviours among the school children.
  10. Rasyidah G, Wafa SW
    Heliyon, 2020 Jun;6(6):e04059.
    PMID: 32551377 DOI: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2020.e04059
    Background: There is evidence suggesting that the school environment does have prominent contributions to the rise of childhood obesity.

    Aim: The objective of this study was to assess the school environment by interviewing the teachers and compare the school environment score between rural and urban schools in Terengganu, Malaysia.

    Methods: Thirty-two teachers from 16 primary schools in Terengganu were interviewed using a set of validated Malay version "School Environmental Mapping" questionnaire. A total of 76 items consisting of four domains of school environment factor: physical (what is available) with 41 items; economic (what the costs are) with nine items; political (what the rules are) with nine items; and socio-cultural (what the attitudes and beliefs are) with 17 items. Every item was questioned using an initial closed question followed by an open question when the criteria were not met or need further information regarding those particular items.

    Results: The present study revealed that the school environment of school in state of Terengganu is still low and not satisfied. Based on the schoolteacher's information and observation, there are significant barriers to promoting healthy eating and physical activity at school e.g. limited financial and budget allocation; lack of school facilities; lack of manpower to organise and monitor the programme; lack of participation and cooperation from parents; and no enforcement and serious action from authorized personnel on street hawkers near the school. This is reflected by the score achieved for 16 schools in Terengganu was only 63.05%. The political environment indicated the highest score among the domains, which was 77.78%, whereas, the lowest score was an economic environment (50.00%). Upon comparing between the urban and rural areas, the present study reported that there was a significant difference between school settings (p < 0.001) for an overall school environment, in which the rural areas had a significantly higher score than urban counterparts (64.86% vs 59.34%, p < 0.001). For each domain of the school environment, the findings showed that only two domains (physical and political environment) were significantly different between school settings.

    Conclusion: This study revealed that the level of a healthy school environment among schools in both settings is still not satisfied. Addressing the obesogenic elements of school environments is one of the strategies in prevention since the school environments exert a great influence on children's behaviour.

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