Mal J Nutr 20(3): 367 - 375, 2014

Association Between Ready-to-Eat Cereal Consumption and Anthropometric Status Among Primary School Children in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Koo HC, Suriyani MY Sr Ruzita AT*

ABSTRACT

Introduction: The consumption of ready-to-eat cereals (RTECs) has been associated with lower anthropometric status as well as a lower risk of childhood obesity. This relationship has not been investigated among school children in Malaysia. This study aimed to determine the association between consumption of RTECs and anthropometric status among primary school children in Kuala Lumpur.
Method: In this cross-sectional study, a total of 208 school children aged 10 and 11 years were recruited from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Information on socio-demographics, RTECs consumption and anthropometric measurements (height, weight and waist circumference) were obtained.
Results: The overall median body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) were 17.95(IqR 6.45) kg/ m2 and 57.35 (IqR 13.00) cm, respectively. The majority of the children (73%) consumed RTECs. The prevalence of obesity was 23.1%, with more boys (31%) than girls (17.4%) being obese. Meanwhile, 16.8% of the children were overweight. BMI (U=3335.50, z=-2.278, p=0.023) and WC (U=3273.50, z=-2.440, p=0.015) of those who consumed RTECs were significantly lower than those who did not consume RTECs. Meanwhile, children who did not consume RTECs were significantly more likely to develop abdominal adiposity than those who consumed RTECS, x2(2, N=208) =7.61, p=0.022.
Conclusion: Children who consumed RTECs have significantly lower BMI and WC, as well as a lower chance of developing abdominal adiposity. Consumption of RTECs indicates an overall healthy lifestyle with an excellent nutritional profile to promote healthy body weight in children and decreased risk of childhood obesity.

Keywords: Anthropometric status, childhood obesity, ready-to-eat cereals, school children

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