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Child feeding practices, food habits, anthropometric indicators and cognitive performance among preschoolers in Peninsular Malaysia

Mohd Nasir, Mohd Taib, Norimah, Abdul Karim, Hazizi, Abu Saad, Nurliyana, Abdul Razak, Loh, Siow Hon, Suraya, Ibrahim
Appetite 2012 v.58 no.2 pp. 525-530
breakfast, child nutrition, cognition, dinner, foods, growth retardation, household income, metrology, nutrition knowledge, obesity, parents, preschool children, risk, secondary education, underweight, Malaysia
This study aimed to determine the relationship between child feeding practices, food habits, and anthropometric indicators with cognitive performance of preschoolers aged 4–6years in Peninsular Malaysia (n=1933). Parents were interviewed on socio-demographic background, nutrition knowledge, child feeding practices and food habits. Height and weight of the preschoolers were measured; BMI-for-age, weight-for-age and height-for-age were determined. Cognitive performance was assessed using Raven’s Colored Progressive Matrices. The mean monthly household income was RM3610 and 59.6% of parents attained secondary education. Thirty-three percent of parents had good knowledge on nutrition, 39% satisfactory and 28% poor. For child feeding practices, perceived responsibility had the highest mean score (M=3.99, SD=0.72), while perceived child weight had the lowest (M=2.94, SD=0.38). The prevalence of possible risk of overweight, being overweight, and obesity were 3.9%, 7.9% and 8.1%, respectively, whereas the prevalence of underweight and stunting were 8.0% and 8.4%, respectively. Breakfast was the second most frequently skipped meal (16.8%) after dinner (18.1%). The mean cognitive score was 103.5 (SD=14.4). Height-for-age and consumption of dinner were found to contribute significantly towards cognitive performance after controlling for socio-demographic background and parent’s nutrition knowledge.