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Med J Malaysia. 2002 Mar;57(1):36-50.

Food security and child nutritional status among Orang Asli (Temuan) households in Hulu Langat, Selangor.

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Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang 43400, Selangor.


This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of household food insecurity and its potential risk factors and outcomes among the Orang Asli (Temuan) households. Socioeconomic, demographic and food security information of the households and anthropometric measurements and dietary intakes of preschoolers (n = 64) were obtained using a structured questionnaire. Food security was assessed using the Radimer/Cornell hunger and food insecurity instrument. Diet quality was based on 24 hour recall and analyzed according to the Malaysian RDA and Food Guide Pyramid. Majority of the households (82%) reported some kind of household food insecurity. The prevalence of significant underweight, stunting and wasting were 45.3%, 51.6% and 7.8%, respectively. Dietary intakes were less than 2/3 RDA levels for calories, calcium and iron. However, the intakes of protein, vitamin A, vitamin C and niacin exceeded the RDA and the sources for these nutrients were mainly rice, fish and green leafy vegetables. Among the five food groups, only the number of servings from cereals/cereal products/tubers group was achieved while that of the milk/diary products was the worst. Majority of the children (68.7%) had poor, 31.3% had fair and none with excellent diet quality. In general, diet quality and nutritional status of the children decreased as household food insecurity worsened. It is recommended that the nutritional problems of Orang Asli children be addressed through health, nutrition and economic programs and further studies should be carried out on determinants and consequences of household food insecurity.

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