Displaying publications 1 - 20 of 21 in total

  1. Shanita NS, Norimah AK, Abu Hanifah S
    Malays J Nutr, 2012 Dec;18(3):283-93.
    PMID: 24568069 MyJurnal
    The aim of this study was to develop and validate a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) for assessing habitual added sugar consumption of adults in the Klang Valley.
  2. Lee CL, Norimah AK, Ismail MN
    Malays J Nutr, 2010 Aug;16(2):251-60.
    PMID: 22691930 MyJurnal
    This cross-sectional study investigates the association between energy intake and macronutrient composition of the diet with overweight and obesity among Malaysian women. One hundred and fifteen adult Malay women aged 20 to 59 years (mean age 37.2±7.6 years) were interviewed. Dietary intake was assessed using the food history method. Body weight status was assessed using weight, height, waist circumference and fat percentage measurements. When energy intake was assessed for accuracy, only 41% of the subjects (n=47) were normal energy reporters. Among the normal energy reporters, 55% were of normal weight whereas 32% and 13% were overweight and obese. Mean energy intake for normal weight, overweight and obese subjects was 1685±199 kcal/day, 1810±166 kcal/day and 2119±222 kcal/day, respectively. Energy intake increased with body mass index (BMI) category. Among the overweight and obese, energy intake was respectively higher by 125 kcal/day and 434 kcal/day as compared to their normal weight counterparts (p< 0.001). There was also a significant, moderate and positive correlation between energy intake and BMI (r=0.635), waist circumference (r=0.545), and body fat percentage (r=0.534). When macronutrient composition of diet was analysed (% energy and g/1000 kcal), there was no significant difference in carbohydrate, protein or fat intake between the obese, overweight and normal weight subjects. There was also no significant correlation between macronutrient composition of the diet and body weight status. Based on these findings, we conclude that the subjects' body weight status is likely to be influenced by energy intake rather than the macronutrient composition of the diet.
  3. Hamid Jan JM, Amal KM, Rohani A, Norimah AK
    Malays J Nutr, 2010 Aug;16(2):261-70.
    PMID: 22691931 MyJurnal
    Iron deficiency and anaemia affect millions of children worldwide. This study aimed to investigate the effect of iron deficiency with or without anaemia on cognitive functions, specifically with short-term memory, attention and visual motor coordination in children. A total of 173 primary school children was enrolled. Cognitive functions were assessed using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children. Three sub-tests were selected to assess processing speed (coding test), immediate auditory memory (digit span test) and visual processing and problem solving ability (maze test). The results showed significant correlation between age and coding test (r =0.38, p< 0.001), digit span test (r =0.16, p = 0.028), and maze test scores (r =0.28, p< 0.001), and the total sub-test scores (r=0.43, p < .001). After age adjustment of the cognitive function tests, iron deficient children without anaemia scored significantly lower than the healthy children (p< 0.001) on coding test, while iron deficient children with anaemia and iron deficient children without anaemia scored significantly lower (p< 0.001) than the healthy counterparts on maze test. No significant differences were observed on digit-span score among the groups. This study confirms the negative effect of both iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia on processing speed and visual motor coordination in children.
  4. Zalilah MS, Khor GL, Mirnalini K, Norimah AK, Ang M
    Singapore Med J, 2006 Jun;47(6):491-8.
    PMID: 16752017
    INTRODUCTION: Paediatric obesity is a public health concern worldwide as it can track into adulthood and increase the risk of adult morbidity and mortality. While the aetiology of obesity is multi-factorial, the roles of diet and physical activity are controversial. Thus, the purpose of this study was to report on the differences in energy intake, diet composition, time spent doing physical activity and energy expenditure among underweight (UW), normal weight (NW) and at-risk of overweight (OW) Malaysian adolescents (317 females and 301 males) aged 11-15 years.
    METHODS: This was a cross-sectional study with 6,555 adolescents measured for weights and heights for body mass index (BMI) categorisation. A total of 618 subjects were randomly selected from each BMI category according to gender. The subjects' dietary intake and physical activity were assessed using self-reported three-day food and activity records, respectively. Dietary intake components included total energy and macronutrient intakes. Energy expenditure was calculated as a sum of energy expended for basal metabolic rate and physical activity. Time spent (in minutes) in low, medium and high intensity activities was also calculated.
    RESULTS: The OW adolescents had the highest crude energy intake and energy expenditure. However, after adjusting for body weight, the OW subjects had the lowest energy intake and energy expenditure (p-value is less than 0.001). The study groups did not differ significantly in time spent for low, medium and high intensity activities. Macronutrient intakes differed significantly only among the girls where the OW group had the highest intakes compared to UW and NW groups (p-value is less than 0.05). All study groups had greater than 30 percent and less than 55 percent of energy intake from fat and carbohydrate, respectively.
    CONCLUSION: The data suggested that a combination of low energy expenditure adjusted for body weight and high dietary fat intake may be associated with overweight and obesity among adolescents. To prevent overweight and obesity among children and adolescents, strategies that address eating behaviours and physical activity are required. Various segments of the society must be involved in efforts to promote healthful dietary intakes and active lifestyle in children and adolescents.
  5. Mohd Yusof BN, Ruzita AT, Norimah AK, Kamaruddin NA
    Med. J. Malaysia, 2013;68(1):18-23.
    PMID: 23466761 MyJurnal
    AIM: This prospective, single-group, pre-post design trial was conducted to evaluate the effect of individualised Medical Nutrition Therapy intervention administered by a dietitian in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus on glycaemic control, metabolic parameters and dietary intake.
    METHODS: Subjects (n=104; age=56.4 ±9.9 years; 37% male; years of diagnosis = 6.3 ±4.9 years) treated with diet and on a stabile dose of oral anti-diabetic agents were given dietary advice by a dietitian for a 12 week period. Individualised dietary advice was based on Malaysian Medical Nutrition Therapy for adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The primary outcome measure was glycaemic control (fructosamine and HbA1c level) and the secondary outcome included measures of anthropometry, blood pressure, lipid profile, insulin levels dietary intake and knowledge on nutrition.
    RESULTS: At week 12, 100 subjects completed the study with a dropout rate of 3.8%. The post-Medical Nutrition Therapy results showed a significant reduction of fructosamine (311.5 ±50 to 297 ±44 umol/L; P< 0.001) and HbA1c (7.6 ±1.2 to 7.2 +1.1%, p<0.001) with pronounced reduction for subjects who had very high HbA1c levels of >9.3% at baseline. Waist circumference (90.7 ±10.2 to 89.1 ±9.8 cm, p<0.05), HDL-cholesterol (1.1 ±0.3 to 1.2 ±0.3 mmol/L, p<0.05), dietary intake and nutrition knowledge score (42 ±19 vs. 75 ±17%; p< 0.001) were significantly improved from the baseline.
    CONCLUSIONS: Individualised Medical Nutrition Therapy administered by a dietitian resulted in favourable diabetes outcomes, which were more apparent for individuals with higher than optimal HbA1c levels at the start of the study.
  6. Poh BK, Wong JE, Norimah AK, Deurenberg P
    Food Nutr Bull, 2016 Mar;37(1):3-13.
    PMID: 26769039 DOI: 10.1177/0379572115626025
    The prevalence of stunting, thinness, overweight, and obesity among children differs by ethnicity. It is not known whether differences in body build across the ethnic groups influence the interpretation of nutritional parameters.
  7. Mazlyn MM, Nagarajah LH, Fatimah A, Norimah AK, Goh KL
    J. Gastroenterol. Hepatol., 2013 Jul;28(7):1141-7.
    PMID: 23432408 DOI: 10.1111/jgh.12168
    Evidence suggests that probiotics reduce certain constipation-related symptoms. Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota has never been tested as treatment for functional constipation in otherwise-healthy subjects. To evaluate the efficacy of this probiotic among adults with functional constipation was aimed.
  8. Mohd Nasir MT, Norimah AK, Hazizi AS, Nurliyana AR, Loh SH, Suraya I
    Appetite, 2012 Apr;58(2):525-30.
    PMID: 22265752 DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2012.01.007
    This study aimed to determine the relationship between child feeding practices, food habits, and anthropometric indicators with cognitive performance of preschoolers aged 4-6 years in Peninsular Malaysia (n=1933). Parents were interviewed on socio-demographic background, nutrition knowledge, child feeding practices and food habits. Height and weight of the preschoolers were measured; BMI-for-age, weight-for-age and height-for-age were determined. Cognitive performance was assessed using Raven's Colored Progressive Matrices. The mean monthly household income was RM3610 and 59.6% of parents attained secondary education. Thirty-three percent of parents had good knowledge on nutrition, 39% satisfactory and 28% poor. For child feeding practices, perceived responsibility had the highest mean score (M=3.99, SD=0.72), while perceived child weight had the lowest (M=2.94, SD=0.38). The prevalence of possible risk of overweight, being overweight, and obesity were 3.9%, 7.9% and 8.1%, respectively, whereas the prevalence of underweight and stunting were 8.0% and 8.4%, respectively. Breakfast was the second most frequently skipped meal (16.8%) after dinner (18.1%). The mean cognitive score was 103.5 (SD=14.4). Height-for-age and consumption of dinner were found to contribute significantly towards cognitive performance after controlling for socio-demographic background and parent's nutrition knowledge.
  9. Norimah AK, Hwong CS, Liew WC, Ruzita AT, Siti Sa'adiah HN, Ismail MN
    Malays J Nutr, 2010 Apr;16(1):113-23.
    PMID: 22691858 MyJurnal
    The Malaysian Dietary Guidelines (MDG) with eight key messages were first published in 1999. An updated version consisting of 14 key messages is being developed. The objective of this study was to evaluate the understanding of five key messages of the updated MDG among adults aged 18-59 years in Kuala Lumpur. A total of 773 adults comprising 330 Malays, 364 Chinese and 79 Indians were included in the study. A self-administrated questionnaire was used to obtain demographic data and to determine the level of understanding of key words and messages to be included in the new MDG. The results showed that 63% of the subjects were not aware of the existence of the MDG published in 1999. Overall, the understanding of the five messages in the updated MDG was moderate with a mean score of 60.0 ± 16.5. Between 52% to 93% of the subjects did not understand such key words as serving size, sedentary habits, blended vegetable oil and shortenings. The mean scores of understanding were significantly higher (p< 0.05) among the Chinese subjects (61.3 ± 17.8) than Malays (58.6 ± 14.2) and Indians (60.0 ± 18.9). The younger subjects (61.2 + 16.0) scored significantly (p< 0.05) higher than the older (58.7 ± 17.0) counterparts. There was also a significant association between the level of understanding of MDG with education level (p< 0.001) and occupational status (p< 0.001), respectively. This study suggests that some key words and messages in the updated MDG should be simplified to ensure that they are understood by Malaysians.
  10. Barakatun Nisak MY, Ruzita AT, Norimah AK, Gilbertson H, Nor Azmi K
    J Am Coll Nutr, 2010 Jun;29(3):161-70.
    PMID: 20833988
    OBJECTIVES: This randomized controlled study was conducted to determine the effect of low glycemic index (GI) dietary advice on eating patterns and dietary quality in Asian patients with type 2 diabetes (T2DM).

    METHODS: Asian patients with T2DM (N  =  104) were randomized into 2 groups that received either low GI or conventional carbohydrate exchange (CCE) dietary advice for 12 weeks. Nutritional prescriptions were based on the medical nutrition therapy for T2DM, with the difference being in the GI component of the carbohydrates. Dietary intake and food choices were assessed with the use of a 3-day food record.

    RESULTS: At week 12, both groups achieved the recommendations for carbohydrate (52 ± 4% and 54 ± 4% of energy) and fat (30 ± 4% and 28 ± 5% of energy) intake. There were no significant differences in the reported macronutrient intake in both groups. With the low GI diet, crude fiber and dietary calcium intake increased, while the dietary GI reduced. Subjects in the lowest dietary glycemic index/glycemic load (GI/GL) quartile consumed more parboiled/basmati rice, pasta, milk/dairy products, fruits, and dough, which are foods from the low GI category. There was a significant reduction in the hemoglobin A(1c) level at week 12 for patients in the lowest GI/GL quartile (Δ  =  -0.7 ± 0.1%) compared with those in the highest GI/GL quartile (Δ  =  -0.1 ± 0.2%).

    CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate the ability of low GI dietary advice to improve the dietary quality of Asian patients with T2DM.

  11. Khor GL, Zalilah MS, Phan YY, Ang M, Maznah B, Norimah AK
    Singapore Med J, 2009 Mar;50(3):303-11.
    PMID: 19352576
    Body image concerns are common among adolescents as they undergo rapid physical growth and body shape changes. Having a distorted body image is a risk factor for the development of disordered eating behaviours and eating disorders. This study was undertaken to investigate body image concerns among Malaysian male and female adolescents aged 11-15 years.
  12. Fatihah F, Ng BK, Hazwanie H, Norimah AK, Shanita SN, Ruzita AT, et al.
    Singapore Med J, 2015 Dec;56(12):687-94.
    PMID: 26702165 DOI: 10.11622/smedj.2015190
    This study aimed to develop and validate a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) to assess habitual diets of multi-ethnic Malaysian children aged 7-12 years.
  13. Mazlyn MM, Nagarajah LH, Fatimah A, Norimah AK, Goh KL
    Malays J Nutr, 2013 Apr;19(1):53-64.
    PMID: 24800384 MyJurnal
    Diet and lifestyle modification is commonly used in constipation management. As there is a dearth of studies on this topic in Malaysia, we aim to elucidate the relations between stool patterns, dietary intake and physical activity levels among adults with functional constipation.
  14. Norimah AK, Safiah M, Jamal K, Haslinda S, Zuhaida H, Rohida S, et al.
    Malays J Nutr, 2008 Mar;14(1):25-39.
    PMID: 22691762 MyJurnal
    This study reports the food consumption patterns of adults aged 18 to 59 years in the Malaysian Adults Nutrition Survey (MANS) carried out between October 2002 and December 2003. A total of 6,742 subjects comprising 3,274 men and 3,468 women representing the northern, central , southern and east coast of Peninsular Malaysia as well as Sabah and Sarawak were interviewed. A semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) which consisted of 126 food items was used to evaluate the food consumption pattern (habitual food intake) of the respondents during the previous one- year period. The results demonstrate that nasi putih (cooked rice) was consumed by 97% of the population twice daily (average 2½ plates per day). Other food items consumed daily were marine fish, (one medium fish per day), green leafy vegetables (one cup per day) and sweetened condensed milk (three teaspoons per day. The mean frequencies for daily intake of rice, leafy vegetables, marine fish, local kuih, anchovy (ikan bilis) and biscuits were significantly higher among the rural compared to the urban adults. In contrast, more urban dwellers consumed chicken and eggs more frequently than their rural counterparts. More men than women consumed chicken and eggs more frequently. Malaysian adults showed a satisfactory habit of drinking plain water, with 99% drinking at least six glasses of plain water daily. Other beverages such as tea (47%), coffee (28%), chocolate-based drinks (23%) and cordial syrup (11%) were also consumed on daily basis, however, in a smaller proportion of the population. There were differences in the prevalence of daily consumption of foods when comparing urban and rural population, and also between men and women. The prevalence of daily consumption of marine fish among rural and urban adults was 51% and 34% respectively. For sweetened condensed milk, men and women consumed 43% and 28% respectively; however, more women drank full cream milk than men. Between the age groups, 21% of adults below 20 years old consumed chicken at least once a day, while this pattern of intake was not shown in the older age groups. Our findings show that adults, aged 50 to 59 years old, had the highest prevalence of daily consumption of full cream milk with 24% while those aged 18 to 19 years old had the lowest prevalence of daily consumption at 15%. The food consumption pattern of Malaysian adults appears to be satisfactory. However, some changes in food habits are recommended especially in substituting the less wholesome sweetened condensed milk with the more nutritious full cream or skimmed milk.
    Study name: Malaysian Adult Nutrition Survey (MANS-2003)
  15. Wan Abdul Manan WM, Nur Firdaus I, Safiah MY, Siti Haslinda MD, Poh BK, Norimah AK, et al.
    Malays J Nutr, 2012 Aug;18(2):221-30.
    PMID: 24575668 MyJurnal
    INTRODUCTION: Meal patterns have received little attention in nutrition studies. The aim of this study is to present the findings on general meal patterns of Malaysian adults.
    METHODS: The Malaysian Adults Nutrition Survey (MANS), carried out in 2002 and 2003, involved 6,928 adults selected by stratified random sampling from all households by zone in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak.
    RESULTS: In general, the results showed that most respondents (74.16%) ate three meals per day; 89.20% of the respondents consumed breakfast, while 88.57% consumed lunch and 91.97% consumed dinner with no significant difference in terms of sex. In Peninsular Malaysia, the Northern Zone had the highest number of people consuming breakfast compared to other zones. Meanwhile, the population in Sarawak had the largest proportion of people consuming lunch and dinner, but the smallest proportion of people consuming breakfast. A significantly higher number of the rural population consumed breakfast and lunch than urbanites; however there was no significant difference in dinner consumption. Generally, breakfast consumption increased with age whereby significant difference existed between the 18 to 19 years age group and the age group of 30 years and older. Lunch intake among the age groups showed no significant difference. In contrast, dinner consumption was significantly lower among the 18 to 19 years age group compared to all other age groups. Comparison among the ethnic groups showed that the Indian population had the lowest percentage of having breakfast and lunch while the Orang Asli had the lowest percentage of consuming dinner. However, the Orang Asli recorded the highest percentage for taking breakfast and lunch while the Chinese had the highest percentage of taking dinner.
    CONCLUSION: Considering that Malaysian adults consumed their conventional breakfast, lunch and dinner, these findings indicatethat Malaysians are maintaining their traditional meal patterns.
    Study name: Malaysian Adult Nutrition Survey (MANS-2003)
  16. Azmi MY, Junidah R, Siti Mariam A, Safiah MY, Fatimah S, Norimah AK, et al.
    Malays J Nutr, 2009 Sep;15(2):97-119.
    PMID: 22691810 MyJurnal
    The Malaysian Adults Nutrition Survey (MANS) was carried out between October 2002 and July 2003, involving 6,775 men and 3,441 women aged 18 - 59 years. Anthropometric assessment showed that the overall mean body weight and BMI were 62.65 kg (CI: 62.20, 63.09) and 24.37 kg/m2 (CI: 24.21, 24.53) respectively. Based on the WHO (1998) classification of BMI, 12.15% (CI: 11.26, 13.10) were obese (BMI > 30 kg/m2), and 26.71% (CI: 25.50, 27.96) overweight (BMI > 25 - 29.9 kg/m2). Significantly, more women were obese [14.66% (CI: 13.37, 16.04)] while significantly more men were overweight [28.55% (CI: 26.77, 30.40)]. Ethnicitywise, prevalence of obesity was highest among the Malays [15.28% (CI: 13.91, 16.77)] while overweight was highest for the Indians [31.01% (CI: 26.64, 35.76)]. Both obesity and overweight were highest among those aged 40 - 49 years. Obesity was highest for those whose household income was between RM1,500 - 3,500 while overweight was more prevalent for those whose household income exceeded RM3,500. The prevalence of overweight was highest for those with primary education [31.90% (CI: 29.21, 34.72)]. There was no significant urban rural differential in both obesity and overweight. The study found 9.02% (CI:8.82, 10.61) with chronic energy deficiency (CED) (BMI < 18.5 kg/m2). The prevalence of CED was relatively higher in the indigenous population (Orang Asli) [14.53% (CI: 5.14, 34.77)], subjects aged 18-19 years [26.24% (CI: 21.12, 32.09)], and with monthly household income of < RM1,500 [10.85% (CI: 9.63, 12.20)]. The prevalence of CED was not significantly different among the geographical zones and educational levels, and between urban/rural areas and sexes. The results call for priority action to address the serious problem of overweight and obesity among Malaysian adults as it poses a grave burden to the country's resources and development.
    Study name: Malaysian Adult Nutrition Survey (MANS-2003)
  17. Poh BK, Ng BK, Siti Haslinda MD, Nik Shanita S, Wong JE, Budin SB, et al.
    Br. J. Nutr., 2013 Sep;110 Suppl 3:S21-35.
    PMID: 24016764 DOI: 10.1017/S0007114513002092
    The dual burden of malnutrition reportedly coexists in Malaysia; however, existing data are scarce and do not adequately represent the nutritional status of Malaysian children. The Nutrition Survey of Malaysian Children was carried out with the aim of assessing the nutritional status in a sample of nationally representative population of children aged 6 months to 12 years. A total of 3542 children were recruited using a stratified random sampling method. Anthropometric measurements included weight, height, mid-upper arm circumference, and waist and hip circumferences. Blood biochemical assessment involved analyses of Hb, serum ferritin, and vitamins A and D. Dietary intake was assessed using semi-quantitative FFQ, and nutrient intakes were compared with the Malaysian Recommended Nutrient Intakes (RNI). The prevalence of overweight (9·8%) and obesity (11·8%) was higher than that of thinness (5·4%) and stunting (8·4%). Only a small proportion of children had low levels of Hb (6·6%), serum ferritin (4·4%) and vitamin A (4·4%), but almost half the children (47·5%) had vitamin D insufficiency. Dietary intake of the children was not compatible with the recommendations, where more than one-third did not achieve the Malaysian RNI for energy, Ca and vitamin D. The present study revealed that overnutrition was more prevalent than undernutrition. The presence of high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency and the inadequate intake of Ca and vitamin D are of concern. Hence, strategies for improving the nutritional status of Malaysian children need to consider both sides of malnutrition and also put emphasis on approaches for the prevention of overweight and obesity as well as vitamin D insufficiency.
  18. Mohd Nasir MT, Nurliyana AR, Norimah AK, Jan Mohamed HJB, Tan SY, Appukutty M, et al.
    Food Nutr Res, 2017;61(1):1304692.
    PMID: 28469545 DOI: 10.1080/16546628.2017.1304692
    Background: The association between different types of breakfast meals and nutrient intakes has been studied to a lesser extent. Objective: This study compared nutrient intakes at breakfast and throughout the day between Malaysian children who consumed ready-to-eat cereals (RTEC) and those who did not. Methods: Anthropometric and dietary data for 1955 children aged 6-12 years from the MyBreakfast study were used in the analysis. Results: Overall, 18% of the children consumed RTEC at breakfast on at least one of the recall days. RTEC consumption was associated with younger age, urban areas, higher income and education level of parents. Among consumers, RTEC contributed 10% and 15% to daily intakes of calcium and iron respectively and ≥20% to daily intakes of vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin. RTEC consumers had significantly higher mean intakes of vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, iron and sugar but lower intakes of fat and sodium than non-RTEC consumers at breakfast and for the total day. Conclusion: Consumption of fortified RTEC at breakfast was associated with lower fat and sodium intakes and higher intakes of several micronutrients both at breakfast and for the total day. However, total sugar intakes appeared to be higher.
  19. Nik Shanita S, Siti Hanisa A, Noor Afifah AR, Lee ST, Chong KH, George P, et al.
    PMID: 30360488 DOI: 10.3390/ijerph15112332
    The present study aimed to report the prevalence of anaemia and iron deficiency (ID) and to explore the associations among socio-demographic characteristics, nutritional status and inflammation status in the occurrence of anaemia and ID in a nationally representative sample of Malaysian primary schoolchildren. Using data from the South East Asian Nutrition Surveys (SEANUTS), 544 Malaysian children aged 7 to 12 years were included in this secondary analysis. Blood samples were drawn for haemoglobin and serum ferritin analysis while C-reactive protein (CRP) and α-1-acid glycoprotein (AGP) were measured to detect inflammation. Prevalence of anaemia and ID were 4.0% and 5.2%, respectively. There were significantly more anaemic indigenous bumiputra children (9.9%) than Chinese children (0.6%). Correction for inflammation did not change the prevalence of ID. More overweight/obese children than thin/normal weight children were found to have elevated acute phase protein (APP). Children with elevated inflammatory markers had significantly higher ferritin level than children without inflammation. Periodic health assessments of anaemia and ID at the population level to monitor and clarify the epidemiology of health problems are required to inform public health policies and strategies.
  20. Tee ES, Nurliyana AR, Norimah AK, Mohamed HJBJ, Tan SY, Appukutty M, et al.
    Asia Pac J Clin Nutr, 2018 2 1;27(2):421-432.
    PMID: 29384332 DOI: 10.6133/apjcn.062017.12
    BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to determine the relationship between breakfast consumption and body weight status among primary and secondary school children in Malaysia.

    METHODS AND STUDY DESIGN: This nationwide cross-sectional study involved 5,332 primary school children aged 6 to 12 years and 3,000 secondary school children aged 13 to 17 years. Height and weight were measured and BMI-for-age was determined. Socio-demographic backgrounds, breakfast habits and physical activity levels were assessed using questionnaires. Breakfast frequency was defined as follows: breakfast skippers (ate breakfast 0-2 days/week), irregular breakfast eaters (ate breakfast 3-4 days/week) and regular breakfast eaters (ate breakfast ≥5 days/week).

    RESULTS: The overall prevalence of breakfast skippers and irregular breakfast eaters was 11.7% and 12.7% respectively. Breakfast skipping was related to age, sex, ethnicity, income and physical activity level. Among primary school boys and secondary school girls, the proportion of overweight/obesity was higher among breakfast skippers (boys: 43.9%, girls: 30.5%) than regular breakfast eaters (boys: 31.2%, girls: 22.7%). Among primary school children, only boys who skipped breakfast had a higher mean BMI-for-age z-score than regular breakfast eaters. Among secondary school boys and girls, BMI-for-age z-score was higher among breakfast skippers than regular breakfast eaters. Compared to regular breakfast eaters, primary school boys who skipped breakfast were 1.71 times (95% CI=1.26-2.32, p=0.001) more likely to be overweight/obese, while the risk was lower in primary school girls (OR=1.36, 95% CI=1.02-1.81, p=0.039) and secondary school girls (OR=1.38, 95% CI=1.01-1.90, p=0.044).

    CONCLUSION: Regular breakfast consumption was associated with a healthier body weight status and is a dietary behaviour which should be encouraged.

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