This article aims to describe the eating habits of Malaysian children using a nationally representative data set from the South East Asian Nutrition Surveys (SEANUTS) in Malaysia. A total of 2797 children aged 2 to 12 years were included in this analysis. Eating habits and dietary intakes of children were assessed using questionnaires. Overall, 56.1% of children consumed 3 main meals every day. Approximately 20% of children snacked 3 times per day, whereas 9.7% ate fast food on a weekly basis. Irregular meal patterns were significantly associated with lower micronutrient intakes, and the groups with higher odds for this pattern were older children, Malays, and those living in rural areas. Considering the relatively high rate of irregular meal consumption and its potential influence on dietary nutrient intake, persistent efforts must be continued to promote and inculcate healthy eating habits among children from an early age.
Work ability is related to many factors that might influence one's capacity to work. This study aimed to examine the work ability and its related factors among small and medium enterprises (SME) workers in 4 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries. The participants in this study included 2098 workers from food and textile industries in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam. A cross-sectional survey of anonymous self-administrated questionnaire was designed to collect information on sociodemographic factors, work environment and ergonomic condition, musculoskeletal disorders, and work ability. Bivariate correlation coefficient and multiple linear regression analyses were used to predict the work ability. Results of this study confirm that work ability in 4 ASEAN countries was similar to that in European countries, and that the sociodemographic factors, work environment and ergonomic condition, and musculoskeletal disorder (MSD) were associated with work ability. These factors are important for considering occupational health and safety policy to promote work ability in food, textile, and other SME workers.
Problematic eating behaviors during childhood may lead to positive energy balance and obesity. Therefore, this study aims to investigate the association of eating behaviors with nutritional status and body composition in Malaysian children aged 7 to 12 years. A total of 1782 primary schoolchildren were randomly recruited from 6 regions in Malaysia. The multidimensional Children's Eating Behaviour Questionnaire (CEBQ) was reported by parents to determine the 8 different dimensions of eating styles among children. Body mass index (BMI), BMI-for-age Z-score, waist circumference, and body fat percentage were assessed. Linear regression analyses revealed that both food responsiveness and desire to drink subscales were positively associated with a child's body adiposity, whereas satiety responsiveness, slowness in eating, and emotional undereating subscales were negatively associated with adiposity (all P < .05). A multidimensional eating style approach based on the CEBQ is needed to promote healthy eating behaviors in order to prevent excessive weight gain and obesity problems among Malaysian children.
This study describes the physical activity of primary school children according to sociodemographic characteristics and activity domains. Using the Malaysian South East Asian Nutrition Surveys data, 1702 children aged 7 to 12 years were included in the analysis. Physical activity was reported as a total score and categorized into low, medium, and high levels based on Physical Activity Questionnaire for Older Children. Higher overall activity scores were found in boys, younger age, non-Chinese ethnicity, and normal body mass index category. Sex, age, and ethnicity differences were found in structured or organized, physical education, and outside-of-school domain scores. Transport-related scores differed by age group, ethnicity, household income, and residential areas but not among the three physical activity levels. Participation of girls, Chinese, and older children were low in overall and almost all activity domains. Sociodemographic characteristics are important factors to consider in increasing the different domains of physical activity among Malaysian children.
This study aims to validate skinfold (SKF) and bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) against dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) in determining body fat percentage (BF%) of Malay children aged 7 to 11 years. A total of 160 children had their BF% assessed using SKF and BIA, with DXA as the criterion method. Four SKF equations (SKFBray, SKFJohnston, SKFSlaughter, and SKFGoran) and 4 BIA equations (BIAManufacturer, BIAHoutkooper, BIARush, and BIAKushner) were used to estimate BF%. Mean age, weight, and height were 9.4 ± 1.1years, 30.5 ± 9.9 kg, and 131.3 ± 8.4 cm. All equations significantly underestimated BF% (P < .05). BIA equations had reasonable agreement with DXA and were independent of BF% with BIAManufacturer being the best equation. Although BIA underestimates BF% as compared with DXA, BIA was more suitable to measure BF% in a population that is similar to this study sample than SKF, suggesting a need to develop new SKF equations that are population specific.
A large body of epidemiological data has demonstrated that diet quality follows a sociodemographic gradient. Little is known, however, about food group intake patterns among Malaysian children. This study aimed to assess consumption pattern of 7 food groups, including cereals/grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, fish, meat/poultry, and milk/dairy products, among children 7 to 12 years of age. A total of 1773 children who participated in SEANUTS Malaysia and who completed the Food Frequency Questionnaire were included in this study. A greater proportion of children aged 10 to 12 years have an inadequate intake of cereals/grains, meat/poultry, legumes, and milk/dairy products compared with children 7 to 9 years old. With the exception of meat/poultry, food consumption of Malaysian children did not meet Malaysian Dietary Guidelines recommendations for the other 6 food groups, irrespective of sociodemographic backgrounds. Efforts are needed to promote healthy and balanced dietary habits, particularly for foods that fall short of recommended intake level.
Children's physical activity has been correlated with child characteristics and social or physical environment. This study aimed to compare preschoolers' physical activity among various sociodemographic characteristics and to determine barriers, motivators, and environmental factors for active play. A total of 835 preschoolers were included in this analysis. Time spent on active play, quiet play, and screen time was reported by parents. Boys spent significantly more time on active play and screen time than girls. Time spent on quiet play was highest in East Coast Peninsular Malaysia and lowest in Sarawak. Some 40% of children achieved active play recommendation while 27% exceeded daily screen time recommendation. Most parents reported that their child played actively in the house area; and that the main barrier and motivator to active play were safety and child's enjoyment, respectively. These findings demonstrate that sociodemographic characteristics and environment should be considered in designing physical activity intervention programs.
In a population sample of 385 children, 6 to 11 years old, venous blood parameters-hemoglobin (Hb), ferritin, red blood cell count (RBC), mean corpuscular volume (MCV), mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC), C-reactive protein (CRP), and α1-acid glycoprotein (AGP)-were determined to get insight into the iron status. The prevalence of anemia was 11.4%; 5.6% had iron deficiency (ID), whereas 0.4% had ID anemia. Correction for inflammation based on CRP and AGP did not markedly change the overall prevalence of ID and ID anemia. Stunted children had lower Hb and ferritin values compared with nonstunted children, and thin children had lower values compared with normal-weight or overweight and obese children. Many nonanemic children had alert values for RBC, MCV, MCH, and MCHC. It is concluded that although the prevalence of anemia is of the magnitude of a mild public health problem, the iron status of many nonanemic children is borderline, as indicated by a high number of children with low values for red blood cytology.
This study examined the factors of successful return to employment among participants in the return to work program (RTW) following work-related injury. Data were obtained from the Social Security Organization database containing 9850 injured workers who underwent RTW in 2010 to 2013. About 65% had successfully returned to employment. Significant factors of successful return include gender, employer interest, motivation, age, intervention duration, and type of injury. Male and motivated employees were more likely to return to employment compared with female and unmotivated employees, respectively. Participants from interested employers were 23.22 times more likely to return to work than those from uninterested employers, whereas participants whose intervention period exceeded 5 months were 41% less likely to return to work compared with those whose intervention period was within 3 months. Appropriate strategy and enhanced collaboration between the stakeholders would improve the proportion of successful return to employment.
Breastfeeding has many health benefits, both in the short term and the longer term, to infants and their mothers. There is an increasing number of studies that report on associations between breastfeeding and long-term protection against chronic disease. Recent research evidence is reviewed in this study, building on previous authoritative reviews. The recent World Health Organization reviews of the short- and long-term benefits of breastfeeding concluded that there was strong evidence for many public health benefits of breastfeeding. Cognitive development is improved by breastfeeding, and infants who are breastfed and mothers who breastfeed have lower rates of obesity. Other chronic diseases that are reduced by breastfeeding include diabetes (both type 1 and type 2), obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, hyperlipidemia, and some types of cancer.
This cross-sectional study aimed to determine the prevalence and the factors associated with sexual initiation among the late adolescents in 6 institutions of higher learning in Malaysia. A total of 1572 students completed self-administered questionnaires between April and September 2013. Hierarchical multivariate logistic regression analyses stratified by gender were employed to identify the correlates of sexual initiation. The analyses were further adjusted by sampling weights. The overall prevalence of sexual initiation was 9.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 8.3-11.6), 18.1% (95% CI = 15.1-21.5) among males, and 4.1% (95% CI = 2.9-5.9) among females. The risk factors identified in this study supported the influence of the individual, family, and peer factors in the social-ecological model on adolescents' behaviors. The findings suggest the need for risk-reduction strategies aimed at the individual, family, and peer levels as well as the importance of gender-specific focus in assuring better outcomes.
The history and epidemiology of human leptospirosis in Malaysia from 1925 to 2012 are described. Previous studies have demonstrated that leptospirosis is an endemic disease in Malaysia occurring in both urban and rural locations. The number of cases has risen dramatically since the Ministry of Health Malaysia highlighted leptospirosis as a notifiable disease in 2010, with reported cases increasing from 248 cases in 2004 to 3604 in 2012. The incidence of infection among the population suggests that occupation, sex, age, ethnic background, water recreational activities, and sporting events are risk factors. A robust surveillance system is now in place to monitor temporal and spatial changes in the incidence and prevalence of infection and to identify risk areas and disease behavior. Despite extensive studies over the past decade, there is a still a need to describe local serovars in host carriers and the human population, with the view to develop an effective vaccine against leptospirosis.