Higher Parental Age and Lower Educational Level are Associated with Underweight among Preschool Children in Terengganu, Malaysia

Rose Haniza Mohamad, Bibi Nabihah Abdul Hakim, Amal K. Mitra, Mohd. Razif Shahril, Wan Mohd. Izani Wan Mohamed, Sharifah Wajihah Wafa Syed Saadun Tarek Wafa, Marissa Burgermaster, Hamid Jan Jan Mohamed


This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate the determinants of underweight among preschool children. A total of 218 preschool children were enrolled. Their sociodemographic data were collected using self-reported questionnaires whilst body weight and height were measured, recorded and the BMI for-age z-score was calculated using WHO AnthroPlus software. Of all preschool children participants, 47.7% were male and 53.3% were female. Most of them were Malays (99.5%), aged 4 to <5 years (40.8%) and came from low-income household (92.7%). Overall, the prevalence of underweight, normal, overweight and obese was 17.9%, 73.8%, 4.6% and 3.7% respectively. The underweight prevalence was higher than the national prevalence (13.7%). Of all parent participants, 12.4% were male and 87.6% were female. Most of them aged 30−39 years (55.5%) and did not hold a degree (89.4%). Multivariate logistic regression showed that parental age and their level of education were the determinants of childhood underweight. The risk of being underweight increased with the age of parents (p=0.033) and lower level of education of parents (p=0.042). In conclusion, this study found that underweight among preschool children was mainly associated with parental factors. Hence, designing a special nutritional intervention program involving older parents and lower education levels could overcome this problem.


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Rose Haniza Mohamad
Bibi Nabihah Abdul Hakim
bibinabihah@yahoo.com.my (Primary Contact)
Amal K. Mitra
Mohd. Razif Shahril
Wan Mohd. Izani Wan Mohamed
Sharifah Wajihah Wafa Syed Saadun Tarek Wafa
Marissa Burgermaster
Hamid Jan Jan Mohamed
MohamadR. H., Abdul HakimB. N., MitraA. K., ShahrilM. R., Wan MohamedW. M. I., Syed Saadun Tarek WafaS. W. W., BurgermasterM., & Jan MohamedH. J. (2022). Higher Parental Age and Lower Educational Level are Associated with Underweight among Preschool Children in Terengganu, Malaysia. Jurnal Gizi Dan Pangan, 17(1), 11-18. https://doi.org/10.25182/jgp.2022.17.1.11-18

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