As a part of the recent UPM-IMR collaborative study on the nutritional status of communities in rural villages and estates in Peninsular Malaysia from 1992-1995, this report presents findings on the haemoglobin levels and the prevalence of anaemia amongst these rural dwellers. A total of 69 villages and 7 estates located in 9 states in Peninsular Malaysia were studied. Results of the study on the 5 communities (total n=8024), namely fishing, padi, rubber, coconut and estate communities, are presented according to five age groups, namely less than 7 years (n=1418), 7-12.9 years (n=1778), 13-17.9 years (n=701), 18-59.9 years (n=3241) and ³60 years (n=886). The extent of the anaemia problem varied considerably amongst the various age groups and community types. The prevalence of anaemia and mean Hb level (g/dl) for subjects of both sexes were respectively 24% and 12.1 for those < 7 years; 21.9% and 13.0 for the 7-12.9 years old; 17.8% and 13.7 for the 13-17.9 years; 21.0% and 13.8 for 18-59.9 years; and 22.7% and 13.6 for those 60 years of age and above. While the female adults (18-59.9 years) had a significantly higher prevalence rate for anaemia of 25% compared to 14% found in the male adults, no significant difference in the prevalence rates were found between the sexes for the other age groups. The problem was most serious among adult women, young children and the elderly. Amongst the various community types, the fishing community had the highest prevalence of anaemia at an overall rate of 50%, taking into consideration both sexes and all age groups. The rubber smallholders, in contrast, had the lowest prevalence of anaemia, at an overall rate of about 10%. Intervention and preventive health programmes should therefore be continued to be focussed on the above groups of rural subjects, particularly those in the fishing community.
The study was conducted to determine the nutritional status and reproductive health of 34 Orang Asli women, aged 16-45 years, from two Orang Asli villages in Kuantan, Pahang Darul Makmur.The results of the study indicate that on the whole, the women’s nutritional status is generally not satisfactory.Their mean iron intakes for example, are very low, about one-quarter to one-third of the required level.All their other mean nutrient intake levels are below the required level. Only their mean intake of vitamin C exceeds the required level due to their frequent intake of raw vegetables. Their main source of carbohydrate is rice, while their main source of protein is fish, and their main source of minerals and vitamins are Chinese mustard and cabbage.From BMI measurements, it is found that less than half of the women (42.9%) have normal weight, 35.7% suffer from chronic energy deficiency (CED), 7.1% (one) are overweight, and 14.3% (two) are obese.The accessibility and availability of food are a problem for the women, limiting their choice of varieties of food sources.For their reproductive health needs, the pregnant women rely on the government hospital and clinics for their antenatal check-ups and birth deliveries.Of all the women, nine suffer from menstrual pain and five from vaginal discharge.Food taboos and cultural practices are practised by the pregnant women during their confinement.It is concluded that the nutritional status of the women needs to be improved since most of them have insufficient nutrient intake.
Body composition was assessed in a group of 344 free-living elderly between 60 and 89 years by means of anthropometry. The height, weight and body mass indexes of the elderly were reduced with advancing age in both the males and females. Skinfold thickness measurements also declined with age. Overall, the female elderly had a greater tricep skinfold thickness but smaller mid-arm circumferences, mid-arm muscle circumference and mid-arm muscle area compared to the male.
The theoretical impact of the use of coconut cream (santan) powder and palm oil santan powder on the dietary levels of C12-16 saturated fatty acids (SFAs) and linoleic acid (18:2), and on serum total cholesterol (TC), was evaluated holding non-santan dietary variables constant. The prediction was based on a 2,300-kcal hypothetical diet, containing one santan-based dish or snack in each of the 5 daily meals with fat contributing 30% of total calories, while the santan contributed a total of 14% kcal (36g). Replacing coconut santan with palm oil santan reduced the overall dietary C12-16 SFAs from 10.8% kcal to 4.8% kcal (i.e. –6.0% kcal) and the virtual removal of lauric (12:0) + myristic (14:0) acids, while palmitic acid (16:0) rose by 3.3% kcal, and the polyunsaturated linoleic acid (18:2) increased by 1.13% kcal. Applying the Hegsted equation to these dietary fatty acid (FA) changes, predicted a serum TC reduction of 24 -31 mg/dL (0.62- 0.80 mM/L), with the hypocholesterolemic effect being influenced by the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLr) “set-point” of the individual(s) concerned. Thus, the prediction indicated that replacing coconut santan with palm oil santan in santan-based Malaysian dishes or snacks would have a significant beneficial impact on serum TC and hence, cardiovascular risk.
Pure olive oil triglycerides (POLO), free from all unsaponifiable matter, were isolated from Virgin Spanish olive oil (COLO) by alumina-charcoal column chromatography. COLO and POLO were used as sources of dietary fat in two animal studies. The responses of serum and liver lipids to the two types of dietary fat were examined. Our results show that animals fed POLO-diet gave somewhat higher serum total and LDL cholesterol levels as compared to those on COLO-diet. The increase in serum cholesterol level is followed by a parallel increase in liver cholesterol content. These results indicate that the hypocholesterolemic effect of olive oil was partly due to the presence of the unsaponifiable matter. Supplement of the POLO-diet separately with a-tocopherol and squalene resulted in serum lipid responses similar to that observed with the COLO-diet. The serum and liver triglyceride levels are not affected by the removal of unsaponifiable components but addition of a--T and squalene to the POLO-diet appeared to lower both the cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the serum but increased only the liver cholesterol content. These results show that the unsaponifiable components modulate the hypocholesterolemic effect of olive oil.
In the field of human energy expenditure, the measurement of basal metabolic rate (BMR) is an essential element to derive energy requirement estimates for any given population. Besides basic anthropometrics data, this paper reports the generation of predictive equation for basal metabolic rates of healthy Malaysian adult from prospective measurements on 307 male and 349 females aged 18-60 years, using the Douglas bag technique. These new equations based on body-weight reveal that the current FAO/WHO/UNU (1985) predictive equations overestimate BMR of adult Malaysian by an average of 13% in males and 9% in female subjects while differences of between 4-5% were observed when compared to Henry & Rees (1991) equations for tropical people. There is a good reason to believe that the capacity to slow down metabolism amidst the hot and humid climate experience throughout the year as a genuine phenomenon for Malaysians. Similarly, these findings suggest that at equal energy intake recommendation for similar body weight, the lower energy needs of Malaysian could put them at greater risk for developing obesity. These observed deviations must be taken into account in formulating energy requirements of the population.
Bioelectrical impedance (BIA) has become increasingly popular in recent years in the assessment of body composition and body fluid status. The level of interest in this technique is related to the following advantages: it is non-invasive, inexpensive, portable and requires minimal subject compliance. However, as with all indirect methods, the ability of BIA to accurately assess body composition is dependent upon a number of technical and biological assumptions. Most BIA research to date has utilised instrumentation capable of measurement at a single frequency, commonly 50kHz. More recently, significant improvements in the prediction of body water characteristics have been cited when multiple frequency bioelectrical impedance analyses (MFBIA) are employed. MFBIA may provide a more effective means of monitoring hydration levels in studies of nutrition and physical activity. This paper provides an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of the BIA method with specific reference to assessment protocols for experimental and clinical situations. A number of studies undertaken in the authors' laboratory have considered the influence of tester, machine, time and postural differences on the reliability of impedance measures. Results from one of these studies are discussed.