Huam ZY1, Nabila B1, Winnie CSS2, Harvinder Kaur GS2
1Bachelor of Science (Hons) Nutrition and Dietetics, International Medical University (IMU), Kuala Lumpur
2Division of Nutrition and Dietetics, International Medical University (IMU), Kuala Lumpur
To determine the perception on food environment based on five domains (home food environment, school food environment, neighbourhood food environment, eating out behaviour, and food thoughts and habits) and its association to body weight and dietary intake of secondary school children in Hulu Langat (HL) and Bangsar Pudu (BP).
A total of 190 adolescents aged 13, 14 and 16 were recruited in this cross-sectional study (HL:104: BP:86). Adolescents’ weight and height were measured using standard protocol and Body Mass Index (BMI) was calculated. The IMU Perceived Food Environment Survey was used to assess adolescents’ perception of their food environment. Higher perceived food environment scores indicate better adolescents’ perception of their food environment. Dietary intake was assessed using seven days' diet history. Adolescents’ nutrient intake was compared with the Recommended Nutrient Intakes for Malaysia (RNI 2017).
Results & Discussion
Adolescents in both areas perceived their food environment to be generally healthy with similar total perceived scores (HL:68.7±6.7 vs. BP:69.8±7.8, p=0.289). Adolescents in HL and BP had similar weight (Male-HL:48.0±18.8 kg vs. BP:52.5±25.3 kg; Female-HL:44.9±16 kg vs .BP:43.8±9.4 kg, p=0.880) and BMI (Male-HL:19.9±7.2 kg/m2 vs. BP:19.0±7.9 kg/m2; Female-HL:19.8±5.7 kg/m2 vs. BP:19.2±4.8 kg/m2, p=0.433). Perceived food environment scores were significantly associated with adolescents’ weight (r=-0.220, p=0.002) and BMI (r=-0.215, p=0.003). Adolescents were not meeting their RNI recommendations with poor intake of energy (HL:890±733 kcal vs. BP:775±624 kcal, p=0.779), fat (HL:35.0±36.8 g vs. BP:31.7±21.3 g, p=0.515), protein (HL:34.3±25.5 g vs. BP:33.7±24.0 g, p=0.790) and carbohydrates (HL:106.3±80.4 g vs. BP:112.1±92.2 g, p=0.813). There was no significant association between perceived food environment and dietary energy intake (r=-0.009, p=0.948).
While future studies should explore findings in more representative populations, perceptions of food environment can be inferred to include interventions emphasising healthful aspects of the food environment.