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Associated Factors to Prevalence of Childhood under Nutrition in Malaysia: Findings from the National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS 2016)

Objectives: This study aimed to assess the prevalence of underweight, wasting and stunting in children less than five years and to determine its associations with socioeconomic factors using nationally representative data. Study Design: Stratified random sampling was used in the study. Structured questionnaire with face-to-face interview was used for data collection. Method: A total of 11,845 living quarters were selected with eligibility of the mothers aged 15-49 years with last childbirth less than two years prior and their children aged below five years. The WHO growth standards were applied to classify malnutrition (World Health Organization, 2006), as follows: Underweight (weight-forage <- 2SD); Stunting (height-for-age <- 2SD); Wasting (weight-for-height <2SD). Results: Based on the results obtained, the prevalence of underweight, stunting and wasting for infants aged 6 months and below were 9.4%, 13.9% and 10.9%, respectively, while for children aged 12-23 months, they were 13.0%, 17.0% and 11.6%, respectively. Under nutrition was more prevalent in rural areas and it was higher among boys, children whose mother was unemployed, as well as those in low household income. Conclusion: This study indicates wasting, stunting and underweight are still a problem in this country which requires urgent action. Poor socio-economic status was regarded as significant predictor for malnourished children under the age of five years old. Improving socioeconomic status should be the main aspect to consider improving children nutritional status.


Azli Baharudin, Cheong Siew Man, Mohamad Hasnan Ahmad, Norazizah Ibrahim Wong, Ruhaya Salleh, Megat Rusydi Megat Radzi, Noor Ani Ahmad and Tahir Aris

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