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Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2013;22(3):408-15. doi: 10.6133/apjcn.2013.22.3.18.

Overweight among primary school-age children in Malaysia.

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  • 1Institute for Public Health, Ministry of Health Malaysia, Jalan Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


in English, Chinese

This study is a secondary data analysis from the National Health Morbidity Survey III, a population-based study conducted in 2006. A total of 7,749 children between 7 and 12 years old were recruited into the study. This study seeks to report the prevalence of overweight (including obesity) children in Malaysia using international cut-off point and identify its associated key social determinants. The results show that the overall prevalence of overweight children in Malaysia was 19.9%. The urban residents, males, Chinese, those who are wealthy, have overweight or educated guardians showed higher prevalence of overweight. In multivariable analysis, higher likelihood of being overweight was observed among those with advancing age (OR=1.15), urban residents (OR=1.16, 95% CI: 1.01-1.36), the Chinese (OR=1.45, 95% CI: 1.19-1.77), boys (OR=1.23, 95% CI: 1.08-1.41), and those who came from higher income family. In conclusion, one out of five of 7-12 year-old-children in Malaysia were overweight. Locality of residence, ethnicity, gender, guardian education, and overweight guardian were likely to be the predictors of this alarming issue. Societal and public health efforts are needed in order to reduce the burden of disease associated with obesity.

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