Chia LJ. 1, Tey SY. 1, Chua LX. 1.
1 International Medical University
The aims of this study were to compare the physical activity and nutritional status among community-dwelling Malay and Chinese older adults in Kuala Lumpur and Klang Valley, and to determine the relationship between physical activity behaviours and nutritional status in the older adults.
This was a cross-sectional study involving 103 Malay and 107 Chinese Malaysian older adults (n=210) aged ≥60 years in Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley. The participants were recruited through purposive sampling. Weight, height, body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage and muscle mass percentage were measured using standard protocols. Physical activity level was assessed using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire for the Elderly (IPAQ-E).
Results & Discussion
Only 12.9% of the older adults had high physical activity level, while 23.8% were categorised into the low physical activity level category. About 62.4% of them had low muscle mass percentage for their age. The difference in BMI, body fat percentage and muscle mass percentage between both groups were significant (p<0.05). Older adults of Chinese ethnicity showed higher physical activity level as the difference in physical activity between both groups was significant using the categories in IPAQ-E and total MET-mins/week, respectively (p < 0.05). Results showed weak, negative correlations between physical activity using total MET-mins/week and BMI (r=-0.269, p<0.001) as well as body fat percentage (r=-0.271; p<0.001). Muscle mass percentage had a weak, positive correlation with physical activity level (r=0.222, p<0.01).
Physical activity, alongside dietary intake are important components of lifestyle management to improve health and quality of life of the ageing community. A large proportion of the older adults involved in the study had low physical activity levels and low muscle mass percentage. More analysis and studies are needed to investigate the associations between physical activity and BMI, as well as body fat and muscle mass percentages among the ageing population.