Effective population-level solutions to the obesity pandemic have proved elusive. In low- and middle-income countries the problem may be further challenged by the perceived internal tension between economic development and sustainable solutions which create the optimal conditions for human health and well-being. This paper discusses some of the ecological obstacles to addressing the growing problem of obesity in 'aspiring' economies, using Malaysia as a case study. The authors conclude that current measures to stimulate economic growth in Malaysia may actually be exacerbating the problem of obesity in that country. Public health solutions which address the wider context in which obesity exists are needed to change the course of this burgeoning problem.
Previous studies on anti-infective and cardiovascular drugs have shown extraordinary price increases following privatization of the Malaysian drug distribution system. Therefore, it was felt that there was a need to undertake a full-scale study to evaluate the effect of privatization of the Malaysian drug distribution system on drug prices.
Study design: A cross-sectional study was conducted in all states of Malaysia to determine the prevalence, awareness, treatment and control of hypertension. A stratified two-stage cluster sampling design with proportional allocation was used.
Methods: Trained nurses obtained two blood pressure measurements from each subject. Hypertension was defined as mean systolic blood pressure >140 mmHg, diastolic blood pressure >90 mmHg, or a self-reported diagnosis of hypertension and taking antihypertensive medication. All data were analysed using Stata 9.2 software and took the complex survey design into account. A two-sided P-value of <0.05 was considered to be statistically significant.
Results: The overall prevalence of hypertension for subjects aged 15 years was 27.8% (95% confidence interval (CI) 26.9-28.8). The prevalence of hypertension was significantly higher in males (29.6%, 95% CI 28.3-31.0) compared with females (26.0%, 95% CI 25.0-27.1). Multivariate logistic regression showed that the odds of having hypertension increased with increasing age, in males, in subjects with a family history of hypertension, with increasing body mass index, in non-smokers and with decreasing levels of education. Only 34.6% of the subjects with hypertension were aware of their hypertensive status, and 32.4 were taking antihypertensive medication. Amongst the latter group, only 26.8% had their blood pressure under control. The prevalence of hypertension amongst those aged 30 years has increased from 32.9% in 1996 to 40.5% in 2004.
Conclusion: In Malaysia, the prevalence of hypertension is high, but levels of awareness, treatment and control are low. There is an urgent need for a comprehensive integrated population-based intervention programme to ameliorate the growing problem of hypertension in Malaysians.
OBJECTIVE: There is currently no documentation on the availability and implementation of policies related to men's health in Asia. This Delphi study aimed to achieve an Asian consensus on men's health policy based on the opinions and recommendations from men's health key opinion leaders.
STUDY DESIGN: A two-phase Delphi online survey was used to gather information from men's health stakeholders across Asian countries.
METHODS: All stakeholders were invited to participate in the survey through men's health conferences, personal contacts, recommendations from international men's health organizations and snowballing method. Stakeholders were asked about their concerns on 17 men's health key issues as well as their opinion on the availability and recommendations on men's health policies and programmes in their countries.
RESULTS: There were a total of 128 stakeholders (policy makers, clinicians, researchers and consumers), from 28 Asian countries, who responded in the survey. Up to 85% of stakeholders were concerned about various men's health issues in Asia and in their respective country, particularly in smoking, ischaemic heart disease and high blood pressure. There is a lack of men's health policies and programmes in Asia (availability = 11.6-43.5%) and up to 92.9% of stakeholders recommended that these should be developed.
CONCLUSIONS: These findings call for policy change and development, and more importantly a concerted effort to elevate men's health status in Asia.
OBJECTIVES: This study examines the associations of Internet addiction with social anxiety, depression, and psychosocial well-being among Asian adolescents. A self-medication model conceptualizing Internet addiction as a mediating role in relating depression and social anxiety to negative psychosocial well-being was tested.
STUDY DESIGN: A cross-sectional survey.
METHODS: In the Asian Adolescent Risk Behavior Survey (AARBS), 5366 adolescents aged 12-18 years from six Asian countries (China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and Philippines) completed a questionnaire with items of the Internet Addiction Test (IAT), Social Anxiety Scale for Adolescents (SAS-A), Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale (CESD), Self-Rated Health of the Nation Outcome Scales for Children and Adolescents (HoNOSCA-SR) in the 2012-2013 school year. Structural equation modelling was used to examine the mediating role of Internet addiction in depression, social anxiety, and subjective psychosocial well-being.
RESULTS: Significant differences on the scores of IAT, SAS-A, CESD, and HoNOSCA-SR across the six countries were found. The proposed self-medication model of Internet addiction received satisfactory goodness-of-fit with data of all countries. After the path from social anxiety to Internet addiction had been discarded in the revised model, there was a significant improvement of the goodness-of-fit in the models for Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines.
CONCLUSIONS: Depression and social anxiety reciprocally influenced, whereas depression associated with poorer psychosocial well-being directly and indirectly through Internet addiction in all six countries. Internet addiction mediated the association between social anxiety and poor psychosocial well-being in China, Hong Kong, and Malaysia.
KEYWORDS: Adolescents; Asian; Depression; Internet addiction; Social anxiety; Structural equation modelling
OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of glycaemic control and factors associated with poor glycaemic control [glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) ≥6.5%] among patients with type 2 diabetes treated in public health clinics in Johor, Malaysia.
STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.
METHODS: A review of all patients aged over 18 years and with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes for >1 year. The National Diabetic Registry was used as the database for attendees at public health clinics in Johor Bahru between January and December 2013. A required sample of 660 was calculated, and a random sampling method was applied to acquire patient information across the 13 public health clinics in Johor Bahru. All relevant information (e.g. HbA1c, type of treatment and other parameters for glycaemic control) were abstracted from the registry.
RESULTS: Sixty-eight percent of 706 patients had HbA1c >6.5%, and mean HbA1c was 7.8%. Younger patients (72.3%) had poorer glycaemic control than older patients (63.0%), and most patients with poor glycaemic control were obese (79.2%). Approximately 31.7% of patients did not achieve the target blood pressure <130/80 mmHg, and 58.5% did not achieve the target lipid profile. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that age (<60 years), sex (male), duration of diabetes (>5 years), body mass index (obese), type of treatment (diet therapy vs combination therapy) and abnormal lipid profile were significantly associated with increased odds of HbA1C >6.5%.
CONCLUSIONS: More than half (68%) of the patients with diabetes had HbA1c >6.5%. This highlights the importance of providing organized care to manage patients with diabetes in the primary care setting, such as weight reduction programmes, proper prescribing treatment, and age- and gender-specific groups to ensure good glycaemic control.
Information about the quality of drinking water, together with analysis of knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) analysis and health risk assessment (HRA) remain limited. The aims of this study were: (1) to ascertain the level of KAP regarding heavy metal contamination of drinking water in Pasir Mas; (2) to determine the concentration of heavy metals (Al, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ni, Pb, Zn and Cd) in drinking water in Pasir Mas; and (3) to estimate the health risks (non-carcinogenic and carcinogenic) caused by heavy metal exposure through drinking water using hazard quotient and lifetime cancer risk.
OBJECTIVES: To investigate association between quality of life (QoL) and International Normalized Ratio (INR) control, with the secondary aim of assessing QoL using generic and anticoagulation-specific, the Short Form Health Survey (SF-12) and the Duke Anticoagulation Satisfaction Scale (DASS).
STUDY DESIGN: This study assessed anticoagulation related QoL at three time intervals in two groups of patients on long-term warfarin therapy.
METHODS: Data of 326 randomly sampled patients (163 patients each in DASS and SF-12 groups) who had been on warfarin therapy for at least one year at anticoagulation clinics were analysed. QoL was assessed at three time intervals: at the start, six months and one year of warfarin therapy. Indications and target INR ranges and subjects INR values were recorded. Time in Therapeutic Range (TTR) was estimated for four subject subgroups, based on target ranges of INR for clustered indications.
RESULTS: Of the total, 43% of the subjects were aged between 50 and 64 years, and 51% were female. DASS assessed subjects older than 35 years perceived significant decrease in overall mean scores of anticoagulation related QoL, whilst all SF-12 assessed subjects perceived an increase in QoL. The mean percentage days in range for all INR target range subgroups did not exceed more than 60% but there was only a weak correlation (Rs = 0.104, P > 0.05) between INR control and overall QoL.
CONCLUSION: Malaysian urban outpatients on warfarin treatment longer than one year report a significant overall decrease in QoL, as measured using a validated condition-specific instrument. These patients appeared to adapt well to lifestyle limitations imposed by long-term anticoagulation.
KEYWORDS: Anticoagulation therapy; International Normalized Ratio; Quality of life
Study site: anticoagulation clinics at a
suburban tertiary Ministry of Health hospital in Peninsular
OBJECTIVES: Despite the health-enhancing benefits of physical activity, a large segment of the Malaysian population does not engage in regular physical activity at the recommended level. This study aimed to determine physical activity patterns and the associated sociodemographic correlates of physical activity.
STUDY DESIGN: Data on physical activity were obtained from the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2011, a nationally representative, population-based cross-sectional study. A two-stage stratified sampling method was used to select a representative sample of Malaysian adults aged 16 years and above.
METHODS: A total of 19,145 adults aged 16 years and above were recruited, and face-to-face interviews were conducted using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), short version. The correlates for physical activity were identified using multivariate analysis.
RESULTS: In this study, 64.3% (95%CI: 63.1-65.5) of Malaysian adults aged 16 and above were physically active, but overall physical activity levels decreased with advancing age. Men, rural residents, 'other' ethnic groups, and married women were more likely to demonstrate higher levels of physical activity.
CONCLUSION: Approximately 65% of Malaysian adults were physically active. However, it is recommended that health promotions for active lifestyles should be targeted to the least active segments, which constitute more than a quarter of the Malaysian population.
KEYWORDS: Correlates; IPAQ; Malaysian adults; Physical activity; Sociodemographic
Study name: National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS-2011)