Publications by authors named "Geok Lin Khor"

35 Publications

Complementary Foods and Milk-Based Formulas Provide Excess Protein but Suboptimal Key Micronutrients and Essential Fatty Acids in the Intakes of Infants and Toddlers from Urban Settings in Malaysia.

Nutrients 2021 Jul 9;13(7). Epub 2021 Jul 9.

Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Serdang 43400, Malaysia.

This study determined the intakes of complementary foods (CFs) and milk-based formulas (MFs) by a total of 119 subjects aged 6-23.9 months from urban day care centers. Dietary intakes were assessed using two-day weighed food records. Intake adequacy of energy and nutrients was compared to the Recommended Nutrient Intakes (RNI) for Malaysia. The most commonly consumed CFs were cereals (rice, noodles, bread). The subjects derived approximately half of their energy requirements (kcals) from CFs (57 ± 35%) and MFs (56 ± 31%). Protein intake was in excess of their RNI requirements, from both CFs (145 ± 72%) and MFs (133 ± 88%). Main sources of protein included meat, dairy products, and western fast food. Intake of CFs provided less than the RNI requirements for vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, folate, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and zinc. Neither CF nor MF intake met the Adequate Intake (AI) requirements for essential fatty acids. These findings indicate imbalances in the dietary intake of the subjects that may have adverse health implications, including increased risk of rapid weight gain from excess protein intake, and linear growth faltering and intellectual impairment from multiple micronutrient deficiencies. Interventions are needed to improve child feeding knowledge and practices among parents and child care providers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu13072354DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8308842PMC
July 2021

The Inclusion of Folic Acid in Weekly Iron-Folic Acid Supplements Confers no Additional Benefit on Anemia Reduction in Nonpregnant Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Malaysia.

J Nutr 2021 Aug;151(8):2264-2270

Food, Nutrition, and Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Background: Weekly iron-folic acid (IFA) supplements are recommended for all menstruating women in countries where anemia prevalence is ≥20%; however, it is unknown whether the inclusion of folic acid in weekly IFA supplements reduces anemia.

Objectives: We examined whether the inclusion of folic acid in weekly IFA supplements conferred any benefit on hemoglobin (Hb) concentration, anemia reduction, or iron status [ferritin and soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR)], over iron alone.

Methods: In this secondary analysis of a randomized controlled trial in Malaysia, n = 311 nonpregnant women (18-45 y old) received 60 mg Fe with either 0, 0.4, or 2.8 mg folic acid once-weekly for 16 wk. Fasting blood was collected at baseline and 16 wk. A generalized linear model (normal distribution with identity link) was used to assess Hb concentration at 16 wk (primary outcome).

Results: At baseline, 84% of women had low folate status (plasma folate < 14 nmol/L). At 16 wk, marginal mean (95% CI) Hb was 131 (130, 133), 131 (129, 132), and 132 (130, 133) g/L; ferritin was 58.2 (53.9, 62.5), 56.5 (52.2, 60.9), and 58.0 (53.7, 62.3) μg/L; and sTfR was 5.8 (5.5, 6.1), 5.8 (5.5, 6.1), and 5.9 (5.6, 6.2) mg/L in the 0, 0.4, and 2.8 mg/wk groups, respectively, with no differences between groups (P > 0.05). Baseline plasma folate concentration did not modify the effect of treatment on Hb concentration at 16 wk. Among all women, the risks of anemia [risk ratio (RR): 0.65; 95% CI: 0.45, 0.96; P = 0.03] and iron deficiency based on ferritin (RR: 0.30; 95% CI: 0.20, 0.44; P < 0.001) were lower at 16 wk than at baseline.

Conclusions: Despite the low folate status among these nonpregnant Malaysian women, the inclusion of folic acid in weekly IFA supplements did not reduce anemia or improve iron status, over iron alone. However, the benefits of folic acid for neural tube defect prevention still warrant its retention in weekly IFA supplements.This trial was registered at www.anzctr.org.au as ACTRN12619000818134.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxab115DOI Listing
August 2021

Temporal Changes in Breast Milk Fatty Acids Contents: A Case Study of Malay Breastfeeding Women.

Nutrients 2020 Dec 30;13(1). Epub 2020 Dec 30.

Laboratory Medicine, University Medical Center Groningen and University of Groningen, 9713 GZ Groningen, The Netherlands.

The composition of human breast milk changes in the first two months of life, adapting itself to the evolving needs of the growing new-born. Lipids in milk are a source of energy, essential fatty acids (FA), fat-soluble vitamins, and vital bioactive components. Information on breast milk FA of Malaysian lactating women is scarce. Based on convenience sampling, a total of 20 Malay breastfeeding women who fulfilled the inclusion criteria were recruited. Breast milk was collected three times from each subject at consecutive intervals of 2-3 weeks apart. A total of 60 breast milk samples were collected and classified into "transitional milk" ( = 8), "early milk" ( = 26) and "mature milk" ( = 26). All milk samples were air freighted to University of Groningen, Netherlands for analysis. The dominant breast milk FA were oleic acid, constituting 33% of total fatty acids, followed by palmitic acid (26%). Both these FA and the essential FA, linoleic acid (10%) and alpha-linolenic acid (0.4%), showed no significant changes from transitional to mature milk. Breast milk ratio of 6:3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) was comparatively high, exceeding 10 throughout the lactation period, suggesting a healthier balance of PUFA intake is needed in pregnancy and at postpartum.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu13010101DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7824650PMC
December 2020

Weekly iron-folic acid supplements containing 2.8 mg folic acid are associated with a lower risk of neural tube defects than the current practice of 0.4 mg: a randomised controlled trial in Malaysia.

BMJ Glob Health 2020 12;5(12)

SAHMRI Women and Kids, South Australia Health and Medical Research Institute, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Introduction: Weekly iron-folic acid (IFA) supplements are recommended for all menstruating women in countries where anaemia prevalence is >20%. Anaemia caused by folate deficiency is low worldwide, and the need to include folic acid is in question. Including folic acid might reduce the risk of a neural tube defect (NTD) should a woman become pregnant. Most weekly supplements contain 0.4 mg folic acid; however, WHO recommends 2.8 mg because it is seven times the daily dose effective in reducing NTDs. There is a reluctance to switch to supplements containing 2.8 mg of folic acid because of a lack of evidence that this dose would prevent NTDs. Our aim was to investigate the effect of two doses of folic acid, compared with placebo, on red blood cell (RBC) folate, a biomarker of NTD risk.

Methods: We conducted a three-arm double-blind efficacy trial in Malaysia. Non-pregnant women (n=331) were randomised to receive 60 mg iron and either 0, 0.4, or 2.8 mg folic acid once weekly for 16 weeks.

Results: At 16 weeks, women receiving 0.4 mg and 2.8 mg folic acid per week had a higher mean RBC folate than those receiving 0 mg (mean difference (95% CI) 84 (54 to 113) and 355 (316 to 394) nmol/L, respectively). Women receiving 2.8 mg folic acid had a 271 (234 to 309) nmol/L greater mean RBC folate than those receiving 0.4 mg. Moreover, women in the 2.8 mg group were seven times (RR 7.3, 95% CI 3.9 to 13.7; p<0.0001) more likely to achieve an RBC folate >748 nmol/L, a concentration associated with a low risk of NTD, compared with the 0.4 mg group.

Conclusion: Weekly IFA supplements containing 2.8 mg folic acid increases RBC folate more than those containing 0.4 mg. Increased availability and access to the 2.8 mg formulation is needed.

Trail Registration Number: This trial is registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trial Registry (ACTRN12619000818134).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjgh-2020-003897DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7716666PMC
December 2020

Association between long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and prevalence of diabetes mellitus among Malaysian adults.

Environ Health 2020 04 3;19(1):37. Epub 2020 Apr 3.

Department of Environment, Ministry of Energy, Technology, Science, Environment and Climate Change, 62662, Putrajaya, Malaysia.

Background: Malaysia has the highest rate of diabetes mellitus (DM) in the Southeast Asian region, and has ongoing air pollution and periodic haze exposure.

Methods: Diabetes data were derived from the Malaysian National Health and Morbidity Surveys conducted in 2006, 2011 and 2015. The air pollution data (NO, NO, SO, O and PM) were obtained from the Department of Environment Malaysia. Using multiple logistic and linear regression models, the association between long-term exposure to these pollutants and prevalence of diabetes among Malaysian adults was evaluated.

Results: The PM concentration decreased from 2006 to 2014, followed by an increase in 2015. Levels of NO decreased while O increased annually. The air pollutant levels based on individual modelled air pollution exposure as measured by the nearest monitoring station were higher than the annual averages of the five pollutants present in the ambient air. The prevalence of overall diabetes increased from 11.4% in 2006 to 21.2% in 2015. The prevalence of known diabetes, underdiagnosed diabetes, overweight and obesity also increased over these years. There were significant positive effect estimates of known diabetes at 1.125 (95% CI, 1.042, 1.213) for PM, 1.553 (95% CI, 1.328, 1.816) for O, 1.271 (95% CI, 1.088, 1.486) for SO, 1.124 (95% CI, 1.048, 1.207) for NO, and 1.087 (95% CI, 1.024, 1.153) for NO for NHMS 2006. The adjusted annual average levels of PM [1.187 (95% CI, 1.088, 1.294)], O [1.701 (95% CI, 1.387, 2.086)], NO [1.120 (95% CI, 1.026, 1.222)] and NO [1.110 (95% CI, 1.028, 1.199)] increased significantly from NHMS 2006 to NHMS 2011 for overall diabetes. This was followed by a significant decreasing trend from NHMS 2011 to 2015 [0.911 for NO, and 0.910 for NO].

Conclusion: The findings of this study suggest that long-term exposure to O is an important associated factor of underdiagnosed DM risk in Malaysia. PM, NO and NO may have mixed effect estimates towards the risk of DM, and their roles should be further investigated with other interaction models. Policy and intervention measures should be taken to reduce air pollution in Malaysia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12940-020-00579-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7119016PMC
April 2020

Effect of once weekly folic acid supplementation on erythrocyte folate concentrations in women to determine potential to prevent neural tube defects: a randomised controlled dose-finding trial in Malaysia.

BMJ Open 2020 02 5;10(2):e034598. Epub 2020 Feb 5.

Food, Nutrition, and Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Introduction: Folic acid (0.4 mg) taken prior to and during early pregnancy reduces the risk of neural tube defects (NTDs). Because these birth defects occur early in pregnancy, before women may know they are pregnant, many countries have mandated the addition of folic acid to food staples. In countries where fortification is not possible, and weekly iron folic acid programmes exist to reduce anaemia, the WHO recommends that 2.8 mg (7×0.4 mg) folic acid be given instead of the current weekly practice of 0.4 mg. Currently, there is a lack of evidence to support if the 2.8 mg folic acid per week dose is sufficient to raise erythrocyte folate concentrations to a level associated with a reduced risk of a NTD-affected pregnancy. We aim to conduct a three-arm randomised controlled trial to determine the effect of weekly folic acid with iron on erythrocyte folate, a biomarker of NTD risk.

Methods And Analysis: We will recruit non-pregnant women (n=300; 18-45 years) from Selangor, Malaysia. Women will be randomised to receive either 2.8, 0.4 or 0.0 (placebo) mg folic acid with 60 mg iron weekly for 16 weeks, followed by a 4-week washout period. The primary outcome will be erythrocyte folate concentration at 16 weeks and the mean concentration will be compared between randomised treatment groups (intention-to-treat) using a linear regression model adjusting for the baseline measure.

Ethics And Dissemination: Ethical approval was obtained from the University of British Columbia (H18-00768) and Universiti Putra Malaysia (JKEUPM-2018-255). The results of this trial will be presented at scientific conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals.

Trial Registration Numbers: ACTRN12619000818134 and NMRR-19-119-45736.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-034598DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7044827PMC
February 2020

Do not neglect the indigenous peoples when reporting health and nutrition issues of the socio-economically disadvantaged populations in Malaysia.

BMC Public Health 2019 Dec 16;19(1):1685. Epub 2019 Dec 16.

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

The purpose of this correspondence is to express our disappointment with the coverage of the BMC Public Health supplement: Vol 19 (4) titled "Health and Nutritional Issues Among Low Income Population in Malaysia", which neglected to include the fundamental health and nutrition issues that are adversely affecting the lives and livelihood of the indigenous peoples. The Supplement comprised 21 papers. Two of these papers included indigenous peoples as study subjects. These two papers addressed peripheral, albeit important health issues, namely visual impairment and quality of life, and not the persistent and rising health concerns impacting this population. We will provide evidence from research and reports to justify our critique that the Supplement missed the opportunity to spotlight on the serious extent of the health and nutritional deprivations of the indigenous peoples of Malaysia. As researchers of the indigenous peoples, we ought to lend our voice to the "silenced minority" by highlighting their plight in the media including scientific journals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-8055-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6916214PMC
December 2019

Association between dietary patterns and overweight risk among Malaysian adults: evidence from nationally representative surveys.

Public Health Nutr 2020 02 9;23(2):319-328. Epub 2019 Aug 9.

Institute of Public Health, Ministry of Health, Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Objective: To investigate the association between dietary patterns (DP) and overweight risk in the Malaysian Adult Nutrition Surveys (MANS) of 2003 and 2014.

Design: DP were derived from the MANS FFQ using principal component analysis. The cross-sectional association of the derived DP with prevalence of overweight was analysed.

Setting: Malaysia.

Participants: Nationally representative sample of Malaysian adults from MANS (2003, n 6928; 2014, n 3000).

Results: Three major DP were identified for both years. These were 'Traditional' (fish, eggs, local cakes), 'Western' (fast foods, meat, carbonated beverages) and 'Mixed' (ready-to-eat cereals, bread, vegetables). A fourth DP was generated in 2003, 'Flatbread & Beverages' (flatbread, creamer, malted beverages), and 2014, 'Noodles & Meat' (noodles, meat, eggs). These DP accounted for 25·6 and 26·6 % of DP variations in 2003 and 2014, respectively. For both years, Traditional DP was significantly associated with rural households, lower income, men and Malay ethnicity, while Western DP was associated with younger age and higher income. Mixed DP was positively associated with women and higher income. None of the DP showed positive association with overweight risk, except for reduced adjusted odds of overweight with adherence to Traditional DP in 2003.

Conclusions: Overweight could not be attributed to adherence to a single dietary pattern among Malaysian adults. This may be due to the constantly morphing dietary landscape in Malaysia, especially in urban areas, given the ease of availability and relative affordability of multi-ethnic and international foods. Timely surveys are recommended to monitor implications of these changes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1368980019001861DOI Listing
February 2020

Suboptimal Biochemical Riboflavin Status Is Associated with Lower Hemoglobin and Higher Rates of Anemia in a Sample of Canadian and Malaysian Women of Reproductive Age.

J Nutr 2019 11;149(11):1952-1959

Department of Food, Nutrition, and Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Background: Riboflavin is required for several redox reactions. Clinical riboflavin deficiency occurs mainly in low-income countries, where it is associated with anemia. The functional significance of suboptimal riboflavin status in different populations and its role in anemia is not well understood.

Objectives: We assessed the biomarker status of riboflavin and its association with hemoglobin concentration and anemia in women living in Vancouver, Canada, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Methods: Healthy nonpregnant, nonbreastfeeding women (19-45 y) were recruited from Canada ( n = 206) and Malaysia (n = 210) via convenience sampling. Fasting blood was collected to assess riboflavin status [erythrocyte glutathione reductase activity coefficient (EGRac)], hematological indicators, soluble transferrin receptor (sTfR), ferritin, vitamin A, folate, and vitamin B-12 concentrations. Linear and logistic regression models were used to assess the association of riboflavin status with hemoglobin concentration and anemia.

Results: EGRac (mean ± SD) values were higher, indicating poorer riboflavin status, in Malaysian compared with Canadian women (1.49 ± 0.17 compared with 1.38 ± 0.11). Likewise, riboflavin biomarker deficiency (EGRac ≥1.40) was significantly more prevalent among Malaysians than Canadians (71% compared with 40%). More Malaysian than Canadian women were anemic (hemoglobin <120 g/L; 18% compared with 7%). With use of linear regression (pooled sample; n = 416), EGRac values were negatively associated with hemoglobin concentration (r = -0.18; P < 0.001). This relation remained significant (P = 0.029) after adjusting for age, parity, ethnicity, vitamin B-12, folate, sTfR, ferritin, and vitamin A. Women with riboflavin deficiency (EGRac ≥1.40) were twice as likely to present with anemia (adjusted OR: 2.38; 95% CI: 1.08, 5.27) compared with women with EGRac <1.40.

Conclusions: Biochemical riboflavin deficiency was observed in Canadian and Malaysian women, with higher rates of deficiency among Malaysian women. Deficient biomarker status of riboflavin was a weak but significant predictor of hemoglobin and anemia, suggesting that the correction of riboflavin deficiency may potentially play a small protective role in anemia, but this requires further investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxz151DOI Listing
November 2019

Association Between Preconception Care and Birth Outcomes.

Am J Health Promot 2019 03 16;33(3):363-371. Epub 2018 Jul 16.

6 Department of Nursing, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University Putra Malaysia, Seri Kembangan, Malaysia.

Purpose: To evaluate the association between preconception care and the risk of adverse birth outcomes.

Design: A quasi-experimental study comparing 2 groups: (1) integrated maternal health care (MHC) program (with preconception care) and (2) standard MHC program (without preconception care).

Setting: Maternal health-care clinics in Alvand and Qazvin cities in Qazvin Province, Iran.

Participants: A total of 152 and 247 Iranian women aged 16 to 35 years were enrolled in the integrated MHC and standard MHC program, respectively.

Measures: The birth outcomes measured included low birth weight, preterm birth, maternal and neonatal complications, and mode of delivery (normal vaginal delivery and cesarean delivery).

Analysis: Multiple logistic regression was performed to determine the impact of preconception care and risk of adverse birth outcomes with adjusted odds ratios (ORs) as effect sizes.

Results: One hundred forty-seven women in integrated MHC and 218 women in standard MHC completed this study. Preconception care was associated with reduced risk of preterm birth (OR = 0.298; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.120-0.743; P = .009), low birth weight (OR = 0.406; 95% CI = 0.169-0.971; P = .043), maternal complication (OR = 0.399; 95% CI = 0.241-0.663; P < .001), and neonatal complications (OR = 0.460; 95% CI = 0.275-0.771; P = .003).

Conclusion: The findings of the present study revealed advantages of preconception care with reduced adverse birth outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0890117118779808DOI Listing
March 2019

l-5-Methyltetrahydrofolate Supplementation Increases Blood Folate Concentrations to a Greater Extent than Folic Acid Supplementation in Malaysian Women.

J Nutr 2018 06;148(6):885-890

Departments of Pediatrics, Food, Nutrition & Health, and Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, University of British Columbia, BC Children's Hospital Research Institute, Vancouver, Canada.

Background: Folic acid fortification of grains is mandated in many countries to prevent neural tube defects. Concerns regarding excessive intakes of folic acid have been raised. A synthetic analog of the circulating form of folate, l-5-methyltetrahydrofolate (l-5-MTHF), may be a potential alternative.

Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the effects of folic acid or l-5-MTHF supplementation on blood folate concentrations, methyl nutrient metabolites, and DNA methylation in women living in Malaysia, where there is no mandatory fortification policy.

Methods: In a 12-wk, randomized, placebo-controlled intervention trial, healthy Malaysian women (n = 142, aged 20-45 y) were randomly assigned to receive 1 of the following supplements daily: 1 mg (2.27 μmol) folic acid, 1.13 mg (2.27 μmol) l-5-MTHF, or a placebo. The primary outcomes were plasma and RBC folate and vitamin B-12 concentrations. Secondary outcomes included plasma total homocysteine, total cysteine, methionine, betaine, and choline concentrations and monocyte long interspersed nuclear element-1 (LINE-1) methylation.

Results: The folic acid and l-5-MTHF groups had higher (P < 0.001) RBC folate (mean ± SD: 1498 ± 580 and 1951 ± 496 nmol/L, respectively) and plasma folate [median (25th, 75th percentiles): 40.1 nmol/L (24.9, 52.7 nmol/L) and 52.0 nmol/L (42.7, 73.1 nmol/L), respectively] concentrations compared with RBC folate (958 ± 345 nmol/L) and plasma folate [12.6 nmol/L (8.80, 17.0 nmol/L)] concentrations in the placebo group at 12 wk. The l-5-MTHF group had higher RBC folate (1951 ± 496 nmol/L; P = 0.003) and plasma folate [52.0 nmol/L (42.7, 73.1 nmol/L); P = 0.023] at 12 wk than did the folic acid group [RBC folate, 1498 ± 580 nmol/L; plasma folate, 40.1 nmol/L (24.9, 52.7 nmol/L)]. The folic acid and l-5-MTHF groups had 17% and 15%, respectively, lower (P < 0.001) plasma total homocysteine concentrations than did the placebo group at 12 wk; there were no differences between the folic acid and l-5-MTHF groups. No differences in plasma vitamin B-12, total cysteine, methionine, betaine, and choline and monocyte LINE-1 methylation were observed.

Conclusion: These findings suggest differential effects of l-5-MTHF compared with folic acid supplementation on blood folate concentrations but no differences on plasma total homocysteine lowering in Malaysian women. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT01584050.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxy057DOI Listing
June 2018

Milk vitamin D in relation to the 'adequate intake' for 0-6-month-old infants: a study in lactating women with different cultural backgrounds, living at different latitudes.

Br J Nutr 2017 Nov 6;118(10):804-812. Epub 2017 Nov 6.

1Laboratory Medicine,University Medical Center Groningen and University of Groningen,PO Box 30.001, 9700 RB Groningen,The Netherlands.

Breast-fed infants are susceptible to vitamin D deficiency rickets. The current vitamin D 'adequate intake' (AI) for 0-6-month-old infants is 10 µg/d, corresponding with a human milk antirachitic activity (ARA) of 513 IU/l. We were particularly interested to see whether milk ARA of mothers with lifetime abundant sunlight exposure reaches the AI. We measured milk ARA of lactating mothers with different cultural backgrounds, living at different latitudes. Mature milk was derived from 181 lactating women in the Netherlands, Curaçao, Vietnam, Malaysia and Tanzania. Milk ARA and plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) were analysed by liquid-chromatography-MS/MS; milk fatty acids were analysed by GC-flame ionisation detector (FID). None of the mothers reached the milk vitamin D AI. Milk ARA (n; median; range) were as follows: Netherlands (n 9; 46 IU/l; 3-51), Curaçao (n 10; 31 IU/l; 5-113), Vietnam: Halong Bay (n 20; 58 IU/l; 23-110), Phu Tho (n 22; 28 IU/l; 1-62), Tien Giang (n 20; 63 IU/l; 26-247), Ho-Chi-Minh-City (n 18; 49 IU/l; 24-116), Hanoi (n 21; 37 IU/l; 11-118), Malaysia-Kuala Lumpur (n 20; 14 IU/l; 1-46) and Tanzania-Ukerewe (n 21; 77 IU/l; 12-232) and Maasai (n 20; 88 IU/l; 43-189). We collected blood samples of these lactating women in Curaçao, Vietnam and from Tanzania-Ukerewe, and found that 33·3 % had plasma 25(OH)D levels between 80 and 249·9 nmol/l, 47·3 % between 50 and 79·9 nmol/l and 19·4 % between 25 and 49·9 nmol/l. Milk ARA correlated positively with maternal plasma 25(OH)D (range 27-132 nmol/l, r 0·40) and milk EPA+DHA (0·1-3·1 g%, r 0·20), and negatively with latitude (2°S-53°N, r -0·21). Milk ARA of mothers with lifetime abundant sunlight exposure is not even close to the vitamin D AI for 0-6-month-old infants. Our data may point at the importance of adequate fetal vitamin D stores.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S000711451700277XDOI Listing
November 2017

Compliance with WHO IYCF Indicators and Dietary Intake Adequacy in a Sample of Malaysian Infants Aged 6-23 Months.

Nutrients 2016 Dec 1;8(12). Epub 2016 Dec 1.

International Life Sciences Institute South East Asia Region, Singapore 238959, Singapore.

Background: The 2010 World Health Organisation (WHO) Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) indicators are useful for monitoring feeding practices.

Methods: A total sample of 300 subjects aged 6 to 23 months was recruited from urban suburbs of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya. Compliance with each IYCF indicator was computed according to WHO recommendations. Dietary intake based on two-day weighed food records was obtained from a sub-group ( = 119) of the total sample. The mean adequacy ratio (MAR) value was computed as an overall measure of dietary intake adequacy. Contributions of core IYCF indicators to MAR were determined by multinomial logistic regression.

Results: Generally, the subjects showed high compliance for (i) timely introduction of complementary foods at 6 to 8 months (97.9%); (ii) minimum meal frequency among non-breastfed children aged 6 to 23 months (95.2%); (iii) consumption of iron-rich foods at 6 to 23 months (92.3%); and minimum dietary diversity (78.0%). While relatively high proportions achieved the recommended intake levels for protein (87.4%) and iron (71.4%), lower proportions attained the recommendations for calcium (56.3%) and energy (56.3%). The intake of micronutrients was generally poor. The minimum dietary diversity had the greatest contribution to MAR (95% CI: 3.09, 39.87) ( = 0.000) among the core IYCF indicators.

Conclusion: Malaysian urban infants and toddlers showed moderate to high compliance with WHO IYCF indicators. The robustness of the analytical approach in this study in quantifying contributions of IYCF indicators to MAR should be further investigated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu8120778DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5188433PMC
December 2016

Ganglioside Composition in Beef, Chicken, Pork, and Fish Determined Using Liquid Chromatography-High-Resolution Mass Spectrometry.

J Agric Food Chem 2016 Aug 4;64(32):6295-305. Epub 2016 Aug 4.

Fonterra Research and Development Centre , Dairy Farm Road, Private Bag 11029, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand.

Gangliosides (GA) are found in animal tissues and fluids, such as blood and milk. These sialo-glycosphingolipids have bioactivities in neural development, the gastrointestinal tract, and the immune system. In this study, a high-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS) method was validated to characterize and quantitate the GA in beef, chicken, pork, and fish species (turbot, snapper, king salmon, and island mackerel). For the first time, we report the concentration of GM3, the dominant GA in these foods, as ranging from 0.35 to 1.1 mg/100 g and 0.70 to 5.86 mg/100 g of meat and fish, respectively. The minor GAs measured were GD3, GD1a, GD1b, and GT1b. Molecular species distribution revealed that the GA contained long- to very-long-chain acyl fatty acids attached to the ceramide moiety. Fish GA contained only N-acetylneuraminic acid (NeuAc) sialic acid, while beef, chicken, and pork contained GD1a/b species that incorporated both NeuAc and N-glycolylneuraminic acid (NeuGc) and hydroxylated fatty acids.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jafc.6b02200DOI Listing
August 2016

THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN METABOLIC SYNDROME AND ITS COMPONENTS WITH SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS AMONG ADOLESCENTS IN SHIRAZ, SOUTHERN IRAN.

Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health 2016 Mar;47(2):263-76

The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between metabolic syndrome and its individual components with socio-economic factors among 14-18 year-old adolescents in Shiraz, Iran. Using a multistage random sampling, a total of 538 (289 males and 249 females) adolescents consented to the study. Socio-economic status was obtained using a self-administered questionnaire while presence of metabolic syndrome and its individual components was ascertained using NCEP-ATP III criteria. The relationships between the participants' socio-economic status and metabolic syndrome and its components were determined using bivariate and multivariate statistical analyses. Approximately 6% of the adolescents had metabolic syndrome, with significantly more males than females (9.3% vs 2.4%, p < 0.001). The most commonly found abnormality was low high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (42.4%), followed by hypertensive (16.3%). The prevalence rates of elevated triglycerides, abdominal obesity and high fasting plasma glucose were 15.6%, 8.6% and 3.1%, respectively. Metabolic syndrome was significantly more prevalent in obese participants (44.4%) than those with normal body weight (2.0%) or overweight (9.3%). There were positive associations between the components of metabolic syndrome and parental education, school location and household monthly income. Having a family history of obesity was associated with metabolic syndrome after controlling for other variables (OR = 2.1; 95% CI: 0.9-5.2, p = 0.042). Overweight and obese subjects were approximately 8 times and 15 times more likely to develop metabolic syndrome, respectively (overweight: OR = 8.2; 95% CI: 3.6-17.2; obese: OR = 15.4; 95% CI: 4.8-43.7). In conclusion, a positive association exists between socio-economic status and metabolic syndrome and its individual components among the studied participants. An intervention program to prevent metabolic syndrome needs to be developed for this young generation, especially among those who are overweight or obese and those with a family history of obesity. Keywords: adolescents, metabolic syndrome, components of metabolic syndrome, socio-economic status, Iran
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March 2016

Intake of added sugar in Malaysia: a review.

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2016 ;25(2):227-40

Scientific Programs, International Life Sciences Institute Southeast Asia Region (ILSI SEA), Singapore.

The term 'added sugars' refers to sugars and syrup added to foods during processing or preparation, and sugars and syrups added at the table. Calls to limit the daily intakes of added sugars and its sources arose from evidence analysed by WHO, the American Heart Association and other organizations. The present review examined the best available evidence regarding levels of added sugar consumption among different age and sex groups in Malaysia and sources of added sugars. Information was extracted from food balance sheets, household expenditure surveys, nutrition surveys and published studies. Varying results emerged, as nationwide information on intake of sugar and foods with added sugar were obtained at different times and used different assessment methods. Data from the 2003 Malaysian Adult Nutrition Survey (MANS) using food frequency questionnaires suggested that on average, Malaysian adults consumed 30 grams of sweetened condensed milk (equivalent to 16 grams sugar) and 21 grams of table sugar per day, which together are below the WHO recommendation of 50 grams sugar for every 2000 kcal/day to reduce risk of chronic disease. Published studies suggested that, for both adults and the elderly, frequently consumed sweetened foods were beverages (tea or coffee) with sweetened condensed milk and added sugar. More accurate data should be obtained by conducting population-wide studies using biomarkers of sugar intake (e.g. 24-hour urinary sucrose and fructose excretion or serum abundance of the stable isotope 13C) to determine intake levels, and multiple 24 hour recalls to identify major food sources of added sugar.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.6133/apjcn.2016.25.2.13DOI Listing
July 2016

Food consumption patterns and nutrition transition in South-East Asia.

Public Health Nutr 2013 Sep 19;16(9):1637-43. Epub 2012 Nov 19.

Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, Andalas University, Jl Perintis Kemerdekaan, Padang - 25127, Indonesia.

Objective: The present study was done to confirm the relationship between changes in food patterns and nutrition transition in three South-East Asian countries, namely the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Design: This was a cross-sectional study conducted between August 2008 and August 2009 using three methods: interviews, focus group discussions and analyses of government reports.

Setting: The study was conducted in rural and urban areas in Manila and Calabanga (Philippines), Selangor and Kuala Selangor (Malaysia), and Padang, Pariaman Tanah Datar and Limapuluh Kota (West Sumatra, Indonesia).

Subjects: Adults aged 18 to 77 years.

Results: The results showed that Filipinos, Malaysians and Indonesians have retained many aspects of their traditional diets. In fact, most participants in the study considered Western-style and franchise fast foods as snack or recreational foods to be consumed once in a while only. However, a significant difference was noted between urban and rural areas in food varieties consumed. Participants in urban areas consumed more varieties of traditional foods owing to their availability and the participants’ food purchasing power. Although traditional food patterns were maintained by most of the participants, more sugar and vegetable oils were consumed and added to the traditional recipes.

Conclusions: The rapid nutrition transition in this region may be due, instead, to increasing food availability and food purchasing power, rather than to a shift in food preferences towards modern Western foods.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1368980012004569DOI Listing
September 2013

Micronutrient interventions on cognitive performance of children aged 5-15 years in developing countries.

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2012 ;21(4):476-86

Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health, International Medical University, 57000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

It is estimated that more than 200 million young children worldwide fail to reach their potential in cognitive development owing to undernutrition. Numerous studies have assessed the effects of micronutrient supplementation on growth and cognitive development in infants, toddlers and preschoolers. However, micronutrient interventions on the cognitive performance of older children are limited. This article seeks to provide an update on micronutrient interventions and cognitive outcomes among children aged 5-15 years in developing countries. A total of 13 randomized controlled trials published since 2000 were identified. Majority of these studies assessed the effects of micronutrient-fortified foods on various domains of cognitive function. Among key micronutrients assessed were iron, zinc, iodine and vitamin A. This review found a lack of consistency in the impact of micronutrient supplementation on intelligence, long term mental functions and school examination grades of the children. A beneficial effect of micronutrient supplementation on short term memory was more consistently reported. Overall, the evidence from this review for the impact of micronutrients on cognitive performance in older children remains equivocal. In light of the growing interest on the influence of nutrition on cognition, it is important that culturally-appropriate and sufficiently sensitive assessment tools be used for measuring the desired cognitive outcomes that are most likely to be affected by the nutrients under study.
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November 2012

Association between dietary folate intake and blood status of folate and homocysteine in Malaysian adults.

J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo) 2011 ;57(2):150-5

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

Folate is of prime interest among investigators in nutrition due to its multiple roles in maintaining health, especially in preventing neural tube defects and reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases. We investigated the effect of dietary folate intake on blood folate, vitamin B(12), vitamin B(6), and homocysteine status. One hundred subjects consisting of Chinese and Malay subjects volunteered to participate in this cross-sectional study. Dietary folate intake was assessed by 24-h dietary recall and a food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Serum and red blood cell folate were analyzed using a microbiological assay, while serum vitamin B(12) was determined by electrochemiluminescence immunoassay (ECLIA), and high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) was used for the determination of serum vitamin B(6) and homocysteine. The mean folate intake, serum folate, RBC folate, serum vitamin B(12), and B(6), were higher in female subjects, with the exception of serum homocysteine. The Chinese tended to have higher folate intake, serum folate, RBC folate, and vitamin B(12). A positive association was found between folate intake and serum folate while a negative association was found between folate intake and serum homocysteine. Stepwise linear regression of serum folate showed a significant positive coefficient for folate intake whilst a significant negative coefficient was found for serum homocysteine when controlling for age, gender, and ethnicity. In conclusion, high dietary folate intake helps to increase serum folate and to lower the homocysteine levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3177/jnsv.57.150DOI Listing
December 2011

Southeast Asia: an emerging focus for global health.

Lancet 2011 Feb 25;377(9765):534-5. Epub 2011 Jan 25.

De la Salle Health Sciences Institute, Damarinas, Cavite, Philippines.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(10)61426-2DOI Listing
February 2011

Maternal, neonatal, and child health in southeast Asia: towards greater regional collaboration.

Lancet 2011 Feb 25;377(9764):516-25. Epub 2011 Jan 25.

Institute of Clinical Epidemiology, University of the Philippines, National Institutes of Health, Ermita, Manila, Philippines.

Although maternal and child mortality are on the decline in southeast Asia, there are still major disparities, and greater equity is key to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. We used comparable cross-national data sources to document mortality trends from 1990 to 2008 and to assess major causes of maternal and child deaths. We present inequalities in intervention coverage by two common measures of wealth quintiles and rural or urban status. Case studies of reduction in mortality in Thailand and Indonesia indicate the varying extents of success and point to some factors that accelerate progress. We developed a Lives Saved Tool analysis for the region and for country subgroups to estimate deaths averted by cause and intervention. We identified three major patterns of maternal and child mortality reduction: early, rapid downward trends (Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand); initially high declines (sustained by Vietnam but faltering in the Philippines and Indonesia); and high initial rates with a downward trend (Laos, Cambodia, and Myanmar). Economic development seems to provide an important context that should be coupled with broader health-system interventions. Increasing coverage and consideration of the health-system context is needed, and regional support from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations can provide increased policy support to achieve maternal, neonatal, and child health goals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(10)62049-1DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7159081PMC
February 2011

Prevalence of metabolic syndrome among middle aged women in Babol, Iran.

Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health 2009 May;40(3):612-28

Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Iran.

Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of interconnected cardiovascular risk factors. This research determined the prevalence of metabolic syndrome by body mass index, sociodemography, and lifestyle habits of women 30-50 years old in Babol Iran. A systematic random sampling was used to select 984 middle aged women from an urban area in Babol, Mazandaran, Iran. Screening was used to select eligible women who fulfilled selection criteria. The Adult Treatment Panel III (ATP III) criteria were used to classify participants as having metabolic syndrome. The overall prevalence of metabolic syndrome was 31.0%. Abdominal obesity was observed in about 76.6% (n = 273) of subjects. The prevalences of hypertension, high fasting blood glucose, high triglycerides and low HDL-cholesterol were 12.1, 12.1, 41.5 and 48.6%, respectively. Older age (OR = 2.07; CI = 1.56-2.75), higher waist circumference (OR = 6.46; 95% CI = 3.48-11.96), higher systolic (OR = 3.84; 95% CI = 2.37-6.22) and diastolic blood pressure (OR = 1.89; 95% CI =1.17-3.05), low education level (OR = 2.780; CI = 1.80-4.31), housekeeping (OR = 3.92; CI = 1.24-12.44) and farming occupation (OR = 20.54; 95% CI = 3.54-119.06) were associated with increased risk for metabolic syndrome. The odds ratio (OR) showed no significant associations between metabolic syndrome and smoking or exposure to smoking. This study showed high prevalence of metabolic syndrome in Iranian middle aged women. A larger area and population study is needed to enable broader recommendations for the prevention of metabolic syndrome.
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May 2009

Association of major dietary patterns with obesity risk among Mongolian men and women.

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2009 ;18(3):433-40

Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Science, University, Putra Malaysia, Serdang, Malaysia.

Mongolia is experiencing changes in its unique nomadic lifestyle and dietary habits in the last two decades with accompanying increase in obesity rate. The dietary pattern approach, which investigates the overall diet in relation to obesity risks, has become appealing in nutrition epidemiology. The aim of this study was to identify major dietary patterns of the Mongolian adults in relation to the risk of having obesity. Dietary intake of a total 418 adults aged ? 25 years was assessed by using a food frequency questionnaire with 68 items. An exploratory factor analysis resulted in three dietary patterns: transitional high in processed meat and potato, traditional rich in whole milk, fats and oils and healthy with greater intake of whole grains, mixed vegetables and fruits. Individuals in the upper quintile of the transitional pattern had significantly greater risk of obesity (BMI > or =25 kg/m2: OR=2.47; 95% CI=1.04-5.86) while subjects in the highest quintile of the healthy dietary pattern were found to have significantly decreased risk of obesity (OR: 0.49; 95% CI=0.25-0.95). Men in the highest quintile of the transitional pattern had greater risk of abdominal obesity WC > or =90 cm: OR= 4.08; 95% CI=1.11-14.97) than those in the lowest quintile. Women in the top quintile of the traditional pattern had a greater odds of having abdominal obesity (WC > or =80 cm: OR=4.59; 95% CI=1.58-13.30) than those in the lowest quintile. The study suggests that public health efforts be targeted at adults in Mongolia to address the undesirable aspects of the transitional and the traditional dietary patterns.
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December 2009

Dietary patterns and the metabolic syndrome in middle aged women, Babol, Iran.

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2009 ;18(2):285-92

Department of Midwifery, Babol University of Medical Sciences, Babol, Islamic Republic of Iran, Iran.

It is important to elucidate the dietary factors contributing to the development of metabolic syndrome among middle-aged women to better prevent and manage the syndrome. The objective was to determine the relationship between dietary intake and metabolic syndrome in urban Babolian middle-aged women. Systematic random sampling was used to select 984 women 30-50 years of age from urban area of Babol, Mazandaran, Iran. Dietary patterns were evaluated using a food frequency questionnaire. The ATP III criteria were used to classify study participants as having the metabolic syndrome. Correlations of component foods with indices of the metabolic syndrome were assessed using Spearman's rank correlation coefficient (rho). The adjusted odds ratios (OR) and their 95% confidence intervals were obtained for the nutrient groups. Mean total kilocalories consumed per day were 2965. The study suggests that a good dietary pattern that is rich in fruits, legumes, vegetables, cereals, and fish (component 1), as well as high intake of dairy products and eggs (components 4) decrease the likelihood of having metabolic syndrome. The adjusted OR for the metabolic syndrome in women with low fat intake was higher than in women with high and moderate fat (OR=2.92; 95% CI=1.36, 6.28). It is necessary to emphasize the benefits of lifestyle modification, including losing weight, and consumption of more fruits, legumes, vegetables, cereals, fish, dairy products in reducing the risk of the metabolic syndrome in middle aged women.
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October 2009

Development of multi-dimensional body image scale for malaysian female adolescents.

Nutr Res Pract 2008 30;2(2):85-92. Epub 2008 Jun 30.

Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Universiti Putra Malaysia, Malaysia.

The present study was conducted to develop a Multi-dimensional Body Image Scale for Malaysian female adolescents. Data were collected among 328 female adolescents from a secondary school in Kuantan district, state of Pahang, Malaysia by using a self-administered questionnaire and anthropometric measurements. The self-administered questionnaire comprised multiple measures of body image, Eating Attitude Test (EAT-26; Garner & Garfinkel, 1979) and Rosenberg Self-esteem Inventory (Rosenberg, 1965). The 152 items from selected multiple measures of body image were examined through factor analysis and for internal consistency. Correlations between Multi-dimensional Body Image Scale and body mass index (BMI), risk of eating disorders and self-esteem were assessed for construct validity. A seven factor model of a 62-item Multi-dimensional Body Image Scale for Malaysian female adolescents with construct validity and good internal consistency was developed. The scale encompasses 1) preoccupation with thinness and dieting behavior, 2) appearance and body satisfaction, 3) body importance, 4) muscle increasing behavior, 5) extreme dieting behavior, 6) appearance importance, and 7) perception of size and shape dimensions. Besides, a multidimensional body image composite score was proposed to screen negative body image risk in female adolescents. The result found body image was correlated with BMI, risk of eating disorders and self-esteem in female adolescents. In short, the present study supports a multi-dimensional concept for body image and provides a new insight into its multi-dimensionality in Malaysian female adolescents with preliminary validity and reliability of the scale. The Multi-dimensional Body Image Scale can be used to identify female adolescents who are potentially at risk of developing body image disturbance through future intervention programs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4162/nrp.2008.2.2.85DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2815323PMC
July 2011

Food-based approaches to combat the double burden among the poor: challenges in the Asian context.

Authors:
Geok Lin Khor

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2008 ;17 Suppl 1:111-5

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

Estimates of FAO indicate that 14% of the population worldwide or 864 million in 2002-2004 were undernourished in not having enough food to meet basic daily energy needs. Asia has the highest number of undernourished people, with 163 million in East Asia and 300 million in South Asia. Meanwhile obesity and diet-related non-communicable diseases continue to escalate in the region. The double burden of malnutrition also affects the poor, which is a serious problem in Asia, as it has the largest number of poor subsisting on less than $1/day. As poverty in the region is predominantly rural, agriculture-based strategies are important for improving household food security and nutritional status. These measures include shifting toward production of high-value products for boosting income, enhancing agricultural biodiversity, increasing consumption of indigenous food plants and biofortified crops. Urban poor faces additional nutritional problems being more sensitive to rising costs of living, lack of space for home and school gardening, and trade-offs between convenience and affordability versus poor diet quality and risk of contamination. Time constraints faced by working couples in food preparation and child care are also important considerations. Combating the double burden among the poor requires a comprehensive approach including adequate public health services, and access to education and employment skills, besides nutrition interventions.
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July 2008

Household food insecurity and coping strategies in a poor rural community in Malaysia.

Nutr Res Pract 2008 31;2(1):26-34. Epub 2008 Mar 31.

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

This cross-sectional study assessed household food insecurity among low-income rural communities and examined its association with demographic and socioeconomic factors as well as coping strategies to minimize food insecurity. Demographic, socioeconomic, expenditure and coping strategy data were collected from 200 women of poor households in a rural community in Malaysia. Households were categorized as either food secure (n=84) or food insecure (n=116) using the Radimer/Cornell Hunger and Food Insecurity instrument. T-test, Chi-square and logistic regression were utilized for comparison of factors between food secure and food insecure households and determination of factors associated with household food insecurity, respectively. More of the food insecure households were living below the poverty line, had a larger household size, more children and school-going children and mothers as housewives. As food insecure households had more school-going children, reducing expenditures on the children's education is an important strategy to reduce household expenditures. Borrowing money to buy foods, receiving foods from family members, relatives and neighbors and reducing the number of meals seemed to cushion the food insecure households from experiencing food insufficiency. Most of the food insecure households adopted the strategy on cooking whatever is available at home for their meals. The logistic regression model indicates that food insecure households were likely to have more children (OR=1.71; p<0.05) and non-working mothers (OR=6.15; p<0.05), did not own any land (OR=3.18; p<0.05) and adopted the strategy of food preparation based on whatever is available at their homes (OR=4.33; p<0.05). However, mothers who reported to borrow money to purchase food (OR=0.84; p<0.05) and households with higher incomes of fathers (OR=0.99; p<0.05) were more likely to be food secure. Understanding the factors that contribute to household food insecurity is imperative so that effective strategies could be developed and implemented.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4162/nrp.2008.2.1.26DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2815312PMC
July 2011

A national study on the prevalence of obesity among 16,127 Malaysians.

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2007 ;16(3):561-6

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

Unlabelled: A population-based cross-sectional study was conducted in all states of Malaysia with the aim to determine the prevalence of obesity among Malaysians aged fifteen years and above and factors associated. A stratified two-stage cluster sampling design with proportional allocation was used. Trained interviewers using a standardized protocol obtained the weight and height measurements and other relevant information. Subjects with a body mass index >= 30 kg/m2 were labelled as obese. The results show that the overall national prevalence of obesity among Malaysians aged 15 years old and above was 11.7% (95% CI = 11.1 - 12.4%). The prevalence of obesity was significantly higher in females (13.8%) as compared to 9.6% in males (p< 0.0001). Prevalence of obesity was highest amongst the Malays (13.6%) and Indians (13.5%) followed by the indigenous group of "Sarawak Bumiputra" (10.8%) and the Chinese (8.5%). The indigenous group of "Sabah Bumiputra" had the lowest prevalence of 7.3%. These differences are statistically significant (p< 0.0001). Logistic regression analysis results show that there was a significant association between obesity and age, gender, ethnicity urban/rural status and smoking status. The prevalence of obesity amongst those aged >= 18 years old has markedly increased by 280% since the last National Health and Morbidity Survey in 1996.

Conclusion: The overall prevalence of obesity in Malaysia is very high as compared to 1996. There is an urgent need for a comprehensive integrated population-based intervention program to ameliorate the growing problem of obesity in Malaysians.
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December 2007

Dietary and blood folate status of Malaysian women of childbearing age.

Asia Pac J Clin Nutr 2006 ;15(3):341-9

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

The protective role of folic acid taken during the periconceptual period in reducing the occurrence of neural tube defects (NTD) has been well documented by epidemiological evidence, randomized controlled trials and intervention studies. Much of the evidence is derived from western populations while similar data on Asian subjects is relatively nascent. Baseline data on folate status of Malaysian women is lacking, while NTD prevalence is estimated as 10 per 10,000 births. This study was conducted with the objective of determining the dietary and blood folate status of Malaysian women of childbearing age. A total of 399 women comprising 140 Malay, 131 Chinese and 128 Indian subjects were recruited from universities and worksites in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur. Inclusion criteria were that the subjects were not pregnant or breastfeeding, not taking folic acid supplements, not habitual drinkers or smokers. Based on a 24-hour recall, the median intake level for folate was 66 microg (15.7-207.8 microg), which amounts to 16.5% of the Malaysian Recommended Nutrient Intakes level. The median (5-95th percentiles) values for plasma and red cell folate (RBC) concentrations were 11 (4-33) nmol/L and 633 (303-1209) nmol/L respectively. Overall, nearly 15.1% showed plasma folate deficiency (< 6.8 nmol/L), with Indian subjects having the highest prevalence (21.5%). Overall prevalence of RBC folate deficiency (<363 nmol/L) was 9.3%, and an almost similar level prevailed for each ethnic group. Only 15.2% had RBC concentration exceeding 906 nmol/L, which is associated with a very low risk of NTD. The result of this study point to the need for intervention strategies to improve the blood folate status of women of childbearing age, so that they have adequate protection against the occurrence of NTD at birth.
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November 2006

Improving nutrition knowledge.

Authors:
Geok-Lin Khor

Asia Pac J Public Health 2005 ;17(2):65

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/101053950501700201DOI Listing
February 2006
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