High prevalence of malnutrition and vitamin A deficiency among schoolchildren of rural areas in Malaysia using a multi-school assessment approach

Tan, Pei Yee and Mohd Johari, Syahirah Nadiah and Teng, Kim-Tiu and Loganathan, Radhika and Lee, Soo Ching and Ngui, Romano and Selvaduray, Kanga Rani and Lim, Yvonne Ai Lian (2023) High prevalence of malnutrition and vitamin A deficiency among schoolchildren of rural areas in Malaysia using a multi-school assessment approach. British Journal of Nutrition, 129 (3). pp. 454-467. ISSN 0007-1145, DOI https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114522001398.

Full text not available from this repository.


Childhood malnutrition is known as a public health concern globally. The present study aims to assess the anthropometry and blood biochemical status of rural primary schoolchildren in Malaysia. A total of 776 children (7-11 years old) from ten rural primary schools from five states were included in this study. Nutritional outcomes were assessed based on sex, age group and school categories among the children (median age: 9 years (P25:8, P75:10)). The overall prevalence of malnutrition was 53 center dot 4 %. Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) was recorded at 20 center dot 6 and 39 center dot 8 % based on retinol and retinol-binding protein (RBP) levels, respectively. Anaemia, iron deficiency (ID), iron-deficiency anaemia (IDA) and elevated inflammation were found at 14 center dot 9, 17 center dot 9, 9 center dot 1 and 11 center dot 5 %, respectively. Malnutrition, VAD, anaemia, ID, IDA and elevated inflammation were more prevalent among Orang Asli (OA) schoolchildren compared with Non-Orang Asli schoolchildren. Higher occurrences of VAD and anaemia were also found among children aged <10 years. Retinol, RBP, alpha-carotene, ferritin and haemoglobin levels were lower among undernourished children. Besides, overweight/obese children exhibited a higher level of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that OA school children (adjusted OR (AOR): 6 center dot 1; 95 % CI 4 center dot 1, 9 center dot 0) and IDA (AOR: 3 center dot 6; 95 % CI 1 center dot 9, 6 center dot 6) were associated with stunting among this population. The present study revealed that malnutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and anaemia are prevalent among rural primary schoolchildren in Malaysia, especially those from OA schools and younger age children (<10 years). Hence, more appropriate and targeted measures are needed to improve the nutritional status of these children.

Item Type: Article
Funders: None
Uncontrolled Keywords: Malnutrition; Vitamin A deficiency; Anaemia; Iron Deficiency; Inflammation
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine > Parasitology Deparment
Depositing User: Ms Zaharah Ramly
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2023 03:33
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2023 08:58
URI: http://eprints.um.edu.my/id/eprint/39557

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item