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Rural communities in nutritional transition: emergence of obesity, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia as public health problems in three kampungs in Bagan Datoh, Perak

, : Rural communities in nutritional transition: emergence of obesity, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia as public health problems in three kampungs in Bagan Datoh, Perak. Malaysian Journal of Nutrition 1(2): 129-139

This paper highlights the marked presence of nutritional disorders in a sample (190 males, 237 females, aged 18-80 years) obtained from the adult population in three kampungs i.e. Pasang Api, Sungai Nipah Baroh and Sungai Balai Darat, in the Mukim of Bagan Datoh, Perak in 1992. All subjects (except pregnant females) were measured for blood pressure, weight, height, waist circumference, and hip circumference from which the body mass index (BMI) and waist-hip ratios (WHR) were calculated. A random blood sample was obtained by finger-prick from each subject and analysed for total cholesterol (TC) and glucose, using the Reflotron compact analyser. Elevated means for BMI and WHR indicated that obesity (BMI ≥30.0) was a serious public health problem in these three kampungs, affecting about 5% of males and 14% of females. Another 24% of males and 46% of females had an overweight problem (BMI 25.0-29.9), indicating that on the average, about half the adult population in these kampungs were either overweight or obese. This contrasted with the situation a decade ago in similar-type kampungs in the Peninsula where underweight was the major nutritional disorder in adults, especially males. Overall, there was a shift of an underweight problem to one of overweight, as exemplified by increments of 2.0 to 3.0 BMI units in the adult population, with the phenomenon being more marked in the females. Hypertension (21%) and hyperglycaemia (6.5%) affected the males and females approximately equally. Female adults had higher mean plasma TC compared to males (204 versus 199 mg/dl); these means were some 20 mg/dl (0.52 mmol/L) higher than the corresponding means for adults in similar rural communitites in the early eighties, and approximate the corresponding means for present-day urban adults. The above findings serve to emphasise the nutritional transition undergoing in the rural communities in the Peninsula, viz, the marked emergence in these rural communities of nutritional disorders normally associated with affluent populations.


PMID: 22692058

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