LIFESTYLE PREDICTORS OF OVERWEIGHT AMONG MALAYSIANS
The epidemic of overweight is encroaching in the world today, irrespective of economic and social status and regions. It is now seen as a public health threat and one that must be taken seriously in all aspects of public health interventions. There is a need to deeper understand the relationship of lifestyle behaviors and the epidemic of overweight and obesity. This cross-sectional study investigates the lifestyle predictors (smoking, physical activity, diet, and sleeping) of overweight as measured by body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). A questionnaire survey was conducted among 459 samples (18 years old and above) from those who attended a health screening drive, conducted in three major regions in Peninsular Malaysia. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics as well as regression model, with p<0.05 considered significant. The overall Body Mass Index (BMI) of the population was overweight at 24.69 while the Waist-to-Hip ratio (WHR) for female was 0.86, classified as high and for male, 0.94 which was borderline. Predictor model revealed that smoking (P<0.05, R2 - 0.38) and physical activity (P=0.02, R2 - 0.11) were predictors for body mass index while smoking P<0.05, R2 - 0.50) was a predictor of Waist-to-hip ratio. Findings showed that the problem of overweight in Malaysia is real and smoking and physical activity play a strong role and need to be considered in any public health interventions.
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