Dietary health behaviors of women living in high rise dwellings: a case study of an urban community in malaysia.

J Community Health. 2013 Feb;38(1):163-71. doi: 10.1007/s10900-012-9597-1.

Author

Chu AH, Moy FM.

Institution

Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Healthcare Sciences, National University of Malaysia, Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz, 50300, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, tilly_karu@yahoo.co.uk.

Abstract

Diet-related non-communicable disease (DR-NCD) occurrence is a serious problem amongst Malaysian women and urbanization is probably a challenge to their achieving the nutritional environment conducive to healthy eating. This case study aimed to determine diet quality of an urban community using women respondents from high rise dwellings in Kuala Lumpur. The sample consisted of 135 households and a healthy eating index (HEI) scale was used to evaluate the women's diet quality. A total of 128 women (Malays = 45, Chinese = 56, Indian = 27) participated. Total HEI score was significantly different (P < 0.05) within ethnicity (Indians = 75.7 ± 8.1 <Malays = 80.5 ± 7.4 <Chinese = 80.1 8.1) and affected by component scores for fruit (range 3.8-6.2, P = 0.044), sodium (range 7.8-9.0, P = 0.006) and food variety (range 9.3-9.9, P = 0.001). Dairy foods rated poorly (range 2.0-3.9, P > 0.05) regardless of ethnicity. Income strata (ρ = 0.159, P = 0.048) and eating out frequency (ρ = -0.149, P = 0.046) also independently affected HEI scores. Income negatively correlated with sodium restriction score (ρ = -0.294, P = 0.001) but positively with cereals (ρ = 0.181; P = 0.025), fruits (ρ = 0.178; P = 0.022), dairy products (ρ = 0.198; P = 0.013) and food variety (ρ = 0.219, P = 0.007). Decreased vegetable intake (ρ = -0.320; P< 0.001) and sodium excess (ρ = -0.135, P = 0.065) were associated with eating out frequency and poor HEI scores. This case study suggests health promotion for DR-NCD prevention is needed at the community level to improve diet quality of urban women.


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