Mal J Nutr 20(2): 221 - 235, 2014

Comparison of Fruits and Vegetables Intake and Physical Activity between Hypercholesterolemic Adults and Nonhypercholesterolemic Adults in Malaysia
Chan YY, Teh CH, Yeo PS, Lim KK, Lim KH, Kee CC, Azli B, Tee GH, Gurpreet K & Mohd Azahadi O


Introduction: Hypercholesterolemia is an important modifiable risk factor for coronary heart disease. Lifestyle changes in diet and physical activity can improve cholesterol levels. This study aimed to compare the fruits and vegetables (FV) intake and physical activity (PA) between hypercholesterolemic adults and nonhypercholesterolemic adults in Malaysia, and to investigate factors associated with meeting the recommended levels of FV intake and PA in a hypercholesterolemic population.
Methods: This study was based on 17,988 participants (response rate 98.7%) aged 18 years and above who responded to the hypercholesterolemia questionnaire in the 2011 Malaysian National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS), a cross-sectional study with two-stage stratified sampling design. Data were obtained by trained enumerators via face-to-face interviews and were analysed by descriptive analysis, chi-square test, and univariable and multivariable logistic regression.
Results: Out of the total population assessed, 39.0% had hypercholesterolemia. The prevalence of consuming five or more servings of FV per day is low (7.8%) while 36.0% were physically inactive among the hypercholesterolemic adults. No significant differences were observed in FV intake and PA between hypercholesterolemic and non-hypercholesterolemic populations. Gender, age and educational levels were associated with FV intake and PA among hypercholesterolemic adults. Hypercholesterolemic adults who were underweight or obese were less likely to consume FV, while those who were former smokers and those who had diabetes and heart disease were less likely to be physically active.
Conclusion: These findings are relevant for future health promotion strategies, suggesting that more intensive interventions are needed to increase FV intake and PA level in hypercholesterolemic population and in the general population.

Keywords: Fruit and vegetable intake, hypercholesterolemia, hypercholesterolemic adults, Malaysia, physical activity

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