Prevalence of undernutrition and associated factors in young children in Malaysia: A nationwide survey

Lee, Way Seah and Jalaludin, Muhammad Yazid and Khoh, Kim Mun and Kok, Juan Loong and Nadarajaw, Thiyagar and Soosai, Anna Padmavathy and Mukhtar, Firdaus and Fadzil, Yong Junina and Anuar Zaini, Azriyanti and Mohd Taib, Siti Hawa and Rosly, Rozanna M. and Khoo, An Jo and Cheang, Hon Kit (2022) Prevalence of undernutrition and associated factors in young children in Malaysia: A nationwide survey. Frontiers in Pediatrics, 10. ISSN 2296-2360, DOI

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Undernutrition in young children is a significant public health problem globally. We determined the prevalence of and factors predisposing to stunting and underweight in children aged 1 to 5 years in Malaysia. Materials and methodsData were extracted from a cross-sectional nationwide campaign involving healthy children aged 1-5 years conducted over a 4-month period in 2019. We obtained information on demography, parental height and risk factors of undernutrition and anthropometric measurements (height and weight) of children enrolled. Age and sex-specific z-score for length/height-for-age (HAZ), weight-for-age (WAZ), body mass index (BMI) z-score (BAZ) and weight-for-height/length (WFH) z-score (WFHZ) were obtained using World Health Organization growth standards. The following definitions were used: (a) HAZ < -2 SD as stunted and -2 to -1 SD as at risk of stunting; (b) WFHZ < -3 SD as severe, -3 to < -2 SD as moderate wasting, and -2 to < +1 SD as normal; (c) WAZ -2 to -1 as at risk of underweight; (d) BAZ +1 to < +2 SD as at risk of and > +2 SD as overweight. ResultsOf the 15,331 children surveyed, prevalence of stunting and at risk of stunting were 16.1 and 20.0%, severe and moderate wasting were 4.0 and 6.1%, while 21.1% was at risk of underweight. Prevalence of at risk of and overweight 14.2 and 7.3%, respectively. One in fifth (25.0%) children had at least one form of undernutrition (stunting and/or underweight/wasting). Of the 1,412 (13.2%) children reported to have risk factors of undernutrition, 47.2% had feeding difficulties, 44.8% had poor dietary intake and 8.0% had both. Boys, paternal height < 156 cm and poor dietary intake were significantly associated with stunting and/or wasting. Compared with children with no risk factors, children with feeding difficulties were more likely to be wasted (AOR: 1.48, 95% CI: 1.18-1.85), and had at least one form of undernutrition (AOR: 1.45, 95% CI: 1.25-1.69). ConclusionsIn Malaysian children aged 1 to 5 years, dual burden of under- and overnutrition are common. Poor dietary intake and feeding difficulties were risk factors for undernutrition.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Prevalence; Risk factors; Young children; At risk of undernutrition; Undernutrition; Stunting; Wasting
Subjects: R Medicine
R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine
Depositing User: Ms. Juhaida Abd Rahim
Date Deposited: 19 Sep 2023 07:52
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2023 07:52

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