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.
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.
Leptospirosis is an important zoonotic disease globally and is endemic in Malaysia. A study was conducted in the Rejang basin of Sarawak from June 2011 to May 2013 to determine the seroprevalence of leptospirosis among the communities and dominant infecting Leptospira serovars. A total of 508 human sera were analyzed using ELISA and the microscopic agglutination test (MAT). The seroprevalence of leptospirosis in the study area was 37.4%, with the highest prevalence in Kapit division. More women were positive for leptospirosis (59.5%), and the mean age of seropositive individuals was 42.2 (SD = 18.7) years. Antibody titers between 1:50 and 1:1600 were reported, and serovars djasiman (22.1%), shermani (13.2%), and pomona (7.9%) predominated, with varied distribution between geographical locations. This study highlighted the endemicity and diversity of existing Leptospira serovars within the community. This information should be communicated to local health personnel and communities at risk, and rapid diagnostic capability should be made available to local health facilities.
The study investigated the association between breakfast types consumed, daily energy intake, and body mass index for age Z-score (BAZ). Cross-sectional data from 1258 children aged 7 to 12.9 years were analyzed for breakfast type, nutrient intakes, BAZ, and proportion of overweight or obesity. Analysis of covariance was used to compare energy and nutrient intakes, BAZ, and proportion of overweight/obese children between breakfast groups. Only 19% of children had adequate energy intake from breakfast. Those consuming snacks had a significantly lower BAZ (Z = -0.73), with 5% of them being overweight/obese. Those consuming beverages and desserts had the lowest total daily energy intake (1314 kcal) and lowest protein intake (8.4 g). The results suggest that breakfast type is associated with daily energy intake and BAZ. Most breakfasts are not adequate. School-based nutrition education programs involving families, teachers, and health professionals can contribute to improve this situation.
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.
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 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.
Psoriasis is a chronic dermatological disorder that has a negative impact on quality of life (QoL). This hospital-based cross-sectional study determined factors associated with health-related QoL (HRQoL) impairment in adult psoriasis patients. HRQoL was assessed using the Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI). Disease severity was assessed using the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI). A total of 223 patients, aged 18 to 83 years, were recruited. For 67 (30%) patients, psoriasis had very large to extremely large effect on their life (DLQI score = 11-30). The median DLQI score was 7 (interquartile range = 7). Factors significantly associated with severe impact on HRQoL (DLQI ≥ 10) were disease severity, single status, working status, sports activities, nail dystrophy, exposed area involvement, itch, disturbed sleep, stress, and infection. The factor predictive of severe impact of psoriasis on HRQoL was disease severity. A holistic approach in the management, including psychosocial issues, is absolutely crucial for the optimal care of psoriasis patients.
Study site: Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC)
This study examines the inequality of the use of skilled delivery assistance by the rural women of Bangladesh using the 2007 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey data. Simple cross-tabulation and univariate and multivariate statistical analyses were employed in the study. Overall, 56.1% of the women received at least one antenatal care visit, whereas only 13.2% births were assisted by skilled personnel. Findings revealed apparent inequality in using skilled delivery assistance by socioeconomic strata. Birth order, women's education, religion, wealth index, region and antenatal care are important determinants of seeking skilled assistance. To ensure safe motherhood initiative, government should pay special attention to reduce inequality in seeking skilled delivery assistance. A strong focus on community-based and regional interventions is important in order to increase the utilization of safe maternal health care services in rural Bangladesh.
This study examines the factors that influence institutional delivery among women in Bangladesh extracting data from 2007 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey. We employed both bivariate and multivariate statistical analyses in this study. Findings revealed that, only 14.7% of the women went for institutional delivery and 28.8% births were delivered by trained birth attendance. The multivariate logistic regression analysis yielded quantitatively important and reliable estimates of facility delivery. The likelihood of institutional delivery was significantly higher for first-order pregnancy, couples' higher education, the richest, higher autonomy, TV ownership, non-Muslims, who received antenatal care services, pregnancy complications, and urban residents. Government should ensure quality of care, easy accessibility, and availability of all facilities free of cost in the public medical institutions. Women should be informed regarding the long-term benefit of institutional delivery through information, education, and communication program.
Although current trends indicate that the rate of cigarette smoking tends to be low among women in the Western Pacific Region (<10%), recent epidemiologic data from South Asia (India, Bangladesh) and Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia) identify that a large proportion of women of reproductive age and older chew tobacco--often as part of a betel quid mixture that includes other potentially harmful ingredients (eg, areca nut). Our findings from currently pregnant women identified during a nationwide survey of adult tobacco use in Cambodia indicate that 13.0% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 8% to 17%) were current users of smoked or smokeless (in the form of a betel quid) tobacco. Most pregnant women who used tobacco indicated that their habit was either initiated (29.1%; 95% CI = 16.3-46.3) or increased (33.7%; 95% CI = 18.3-53.5) during pregnancy. Pregnancy-related symptoms such as morning sickness were reported as the reason for more than half (54.9%; 95% CI = 34.8-73.4) of the currently pregnant users to have started a tobacco habit during their lifetime. Among those pregnant women who did not use tobacco, we found strong associations (odds ratios from 2 to 14) with beliefs about the harmful effects of tobacco on adult health, faith-based beliefs in addictive substances, and beliefs that influential members of the community, health professionals, and children should not use tobacco. Our findings indicate that tobacco cessation and prevention programs in Cambodia should specifically target pregnant and reproductive-age women.
Hypertension is a common comorbidity among diabetic patients. This study aimed to determine blood pressure (BP) control among hypertensive patients with and without diabetes. This was a cross-sectional study in 6 public primary care clinics in Wilayah Persekutuan, Malaysia. Hypertensive patients aged ≥18 years and attending the clinics were selected via systematic random sampling. The BP control target was defined as <130/80 mm Hg for diabetic patients and <140/90 mm Hg for nondiabetic patients. A total of 1107 hypertensive patients participated in this study and 540 (48.7%) had diabetes. About one fourth (24.3%) of the hypertensive patients with diabetes achieved BP control target, compared with 60.1% patients without diabetes (P < .001). Being diabetic and on ≥2 antihypertensive treatments were associated with poor BP control. Attention needs to be given to these groups of patients when managing patients with hypertension.
This study aimed to determine the impact of dental caries in terms of Oral Health-Related Quality of Life (OHRQoL) for Cambodian children. The Child Perceptions Questionnaires (CPQ) were cross-culturally adapted and validated for the Cambodian population using a sample of 430 Cambodian children. The participants had a high caries burden, with a mean number of decayed-missing-and-filled deciduous tooth surfaces (dmfs) of 8.8 (SD = 11.1) and a mean DMFS of 3.7 (SD = 5.5) for the permanent dentition. Two in 5 children had at least one pulpally involved tooth. There was a significant difference in mean CPQ8-10 and CPQ11-14 scores by caries experience and by global item response for the respective age-groups, with those in the more severe caries categories scoring higher. Similar gradients were apparent with the CPQ11-14 in the 8- to 10-year age-group. The differences in OHRQoL scores by caries experience demonstrate the construct validity of the CPQ11-14 for the 8- to 14-year age-group.
This study examines the prevalence of child marriage and its effect on reproductive outcomes among women in Bangladesh using the most recent 2011 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey data. Both bivariate and multivariate statistical techniques used in the study yielded quantitatively important and reliable estimates of child marriage and its impact on adverse reproductive and health outcomes. Overall, 77% of the marriages among women aged 20 to 49 years old took place before the age of 18 years. Women's education is the most single significant determinant of child marriage. Findings revealed that after being adjusted for sociodemographic factors, child marriage significantly (P < .001) increases the likelihood of stillbirth/miscarriage (odds ratio [OR] = 1.80; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.45-2.24) and pregnancy termination (OR = 1.24; 95% CI = 1.12-1.38). Programs should aim to retain girls in school for longer periods not only to raise the age at first marriage but also for sound reproductive health and overall social development of Bangladesh.
This study investigates the factors affecting the timing of antenatal care (ANC) seeking among Bangladeshi women using the 2007 Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey data. Overall, 52% of the most recently pregnant women sought skilled ANC. The most pronounced reason for not receiving the services was that it was "not needed." Of the women who sought ANC, 57% entered for ANC at the fourth month or later. The multivariate regression analysis revealed that maternal age, women's education, residence, wealth index, pregnancy intention status, child's birth order, and wanting more children were the important determinants of ANC services utilization. Wanting more children and contraception use were no longer independent contributors to late ANC entry. These barriers should also be addressed as part of health interventions through information education and communication programs to early entry to ANC. The need to reduce financial barriers to care is a major implication of this study.