Nutritional status and dietary intakes of children aged 6 months to 12 years: findings of the Nutrition Survey of Malaysian Children (SEANUTS Malaysia).Br J Nutr 2013; 110 Suppl 3:S21-35BJ
The dual burden of malnutrition reportedly coexists in Malaysia; however, existing data are scarce and do not adequately represent the nutritional status of Malaysian children. The Nutrition Survey of Malaysian Children was carried out with the aim of assessing the nutritional status in a sample of nationally representative population of children aged 6 months to 12 years. A total of 3542 children were recruited using a stratified random sampling method. Anthropometric measurements included weight, height, mid-upper arm circumference, and waist and hip circumferences. Blood biochemical assessment involved analyses of Hb, serum ferritin, and vitamins A and D. Dietary intake was assessed using semi-quantitative FFQ, and nutrient intakes were compared with the Malaysian Recommended Nutrient Intakes (RNI). The prevalence of overweight (9·8%) and obesity (11·8%) was higher than that of thinness (5·4%) and stunting (8·4%). Only a small proportion of children had low levels of Hb (6·6%), serum ferritin (4·4%) and vitamin A (4·4%), but almost half the children (47·5%) had vitamin D insufficiency. Dietary intake of the children was not compatible with the recommendations, where more than one-third did not achieve the Malaysian RNI for energy, Ca and vitamin D. The present study revealed that overnutrition was more prevalent than undernutrition. The presence of high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency and the inadequate intake of Ca and vitamin D are of concern. Hence, strategies for improving the nutritional status of Malaysian children need to consider both sides of malnutrition and also put emphasis on approaches for the prevention of overweight and obesity as well as vitamin D insufficiency.