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Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2004;13(3):248-54.

Body mass index and factors related to overweight among women workers in electronic factories in Peninsular Malaysia.

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  • 1Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore, Level 4 Shaw Foundation Bldg (AS 7), 5 Arts Link, Singapore 117570.


Factors related to overweight were examined in a cross-sectional survey that included 1612 women workers from 10 large electronics assembly factories in Peninsular Malaysia. Respondents were Malaysian citizens, direct production workers below the supervisory level, and had worked at least a year in the factory where they were presently employed. Heights and weights were taken to calculate the body mass index (BMI). Weights and BMI increased with increasing age. After adjusting for age, odds ratios for overweight were significantly raised for married women in relation to not married women (OR 1.5, 95% CI=1.15-2.02), lower secondary education in relation to higher than upper secondary education (OR 1.8, 95% CI=1.06-3.14), monthly income RM800-999 (OR 1.7, 95% CI=1.21-2.45) and >/=RM1,000 (OR 1.8, 95% CI=1.23-2.72) in relation to <RM600, working in rotating shifts that included nightshifts (OR 1.6, 95% CI=1.28-2.06), and not staying in hostel (OR 1.4, 95% CI=1.02-1.88). In a logistic regression model with all variables included as covariates, the factors significantly associated with overweight were age, marital status, education, income, and working in rotating shifts. The overall prevalence of overweight was 37.4%; the overall mean BMI was 24.2+/-5.4 kg/m(2). Prevalence of overweight and mean BMI for younger age groups were similar to Malay women in the country-wide representative National Health and Morbidity Survey II, but the older age groups in this study had higher overweight prevalence and mean BMI than the national sample. Electronics women workers face a higher risk of overweight, and is an important group for nutrition intervention.

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