Materia Medica Malaysiana

February 28, 2007

25 Per Cent Of Orang Asli Children In Kuala Kangsar Have Weight Problem

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 8:17 am

IPOH, Feb 27 (Bernama) — The obesity problem which is often linked to modern lifestyles in big cities, seems to have spread to the Orang Asli communities due to progress and changing lifestyle.
A survey conducted on the diet of Orang Asli children aged below seven years in Kuala Kangsar, showed that 25 per cent of them were having weight problems and of those, two per cent were categorised as obese.
The finding was tabled by Habibullah Mohd Khatib of the Kuala Kangsar Health Office at the Second Perak Health Conference, here Tuesday.
He said the survey involved 1,263 Orang Asli children below seven years of age in 14 settlements in Kuala Kangsar, namely Pos Bawong, Bekor, Bukit Chermin, Chenein, Jong, Kajang, Kenang, Kuala Mu, Legap, Perwor, Piah, Poi, Sungai Pelantuk and Yum.
“Of the total, 637 children (50.4 per cent) were boys while 626 (49.6 per cent) were girls. The percentage of subjects categorised as normal was 37.9 while 62.1 per cent were categorised as stunted.
“The survey found that 41 per cent (514 children) had moderate body weight, 34 per cent (433) normal, 23 per cent (289) severe and two per cent (26) obese,” he said.
He said the demographic data for the study was collected through questionnaires while the anthropometric and clinical data were through measurements using certain equipment and observations by the dieticians and nurses involved.
Habibullah said the study that was aimed at obtaining information on the diet of Orang Asli children aged below seven in Perak, showed that the subjects’ routine diet consisted of rice, tapioca, fish or chicken (protein group) and tapioca shoots (vegetable group).
“The food was prepared by boiling or frying,” he added.
He said the problem of malnutrition was still serious among the subjects and among the clinical signs often seen was their sparse and reddish-brown hair.
“The hair condition is a symptom of insuffient protein that is quite a serious public health problem in several developing countries, especially in areas of low socio-economic level,” he said.
The three-day health conference began yesterday. It is attended by 350 participants from all over the country.
It was opened by Perak Health, Environment and Human Resources Committee chairman Datuk Tan Chin Meng. Also present was deputy director-general of Health Datuk Dr Ramlee Rahmat.

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