Claudia NMX.1, Lee SS.1, Harvinder Kaur GS.2, Winnie CSS.2
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 evaluate the availability of healthy food options in three common Malaysian eateries i.e. Western fast-food restaurants (WFF), Mamak restaurants (MR) and food courts (FC) within 1-km radius of low to middle socioeconomic status (SES) neighbourhoods i.e. Hulu Langat (HL) and Bangsar Pudu (BP), respectively.
Approximately 4 WFF, 3 MR and 3 FC within 1-km stretch of street with high food establishment density were evaluated using the IMU Nutrition Environment Survey-Eateries (IMUNES-EAT) questionnaires in the selected neighbourhoods in HL and BP. One score was allocated for the availability of healthy eating facilitators, whereas one score was deducted for the availability of healthy eating barriers. Higher total score indicates healthier food availability in the eateries.
Results & Discussion
In both lower (HL) and middle (BP) SES neighbourhoods, FC had the highest availability of healthier food items in the menu [HL:(FC:72.5±3.5% vs MR:57.6±0% vs WFF:12.5±0%, p=0.003) vs BP:(FC:95±0% vs MR:56.1±2.2% vs WFF:22.9±14.7%, p=0.058). Healthy food options were however, cheaper in MR with higher average scores of [HL:(MR:33.3±0% vs FC:29.2±5.9% vs WFF:12.5±17.7%, p=0.463) vs BP:(MR:50.0±23.6% vs FC:33.3±0% vs WFF:25.0±0%), p=0.466]. In both the neighbourhoods, FC had the healthiest food environment with lower barriers to healthy eating, followed by MR and WFF [HL:(FC:42.5±4.3% vs MR:39.1±0% vs WFF:8.2±0.2%, p=0.014) vs BP:(FC:57.6±0% vs MR:40.2±1.6% vs WFF:17.6±5.7%), p=0.054)].
In the Malaysian food environment, food courts tend to offer healthier foods when compared to Mamak restaurants and Western fast-food restaurants.