Poor diet quality among overweight/obese (OW/OB) young adults in Klang Valley, Malaysia: a case-control study

Wern Lli Yap, Choon Ming Ng, Satvinder Kaur

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This study aimed to determine the differences in dietary intake and quality between normalweight (NW) and overweight/obese (OW/OB) young adults in Klang Valley, Malaysia. A case-control study was conducted among 294 private universities students in Klang Valley, Malaysia. Respondents completed a set of questionnaire and 3 days 24-hr dietary recall. Weight, height, body fat percentage (%BF), visceral fat, and waist circumference of respondents were measured. Dietary intake of respondents was analyzed and their diet quality was evaluated using a healthy eating index (HEI) scale. Findings displayed OW/OB group had significantly higher energy, macronutrient, sugar, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium intake (p < 0.001) than NW group. The total HEI score was signi.cantly lower in OW/OB group [45.14 (11.13)] than NW group [51.43 (11.61)]. This was affected by component scores of percentages (%) of energy from fat (p < 0.001) and saturated fat (p = 0.023), cholesterol and sodium intake (p < 0.001) with OW/OB had significantly lower score than NW group. However, OW/OB group achieved a significantly higher component score for cereals (p < 0.001) and meat food groups (p = 0.005) than NW group. HEI analysis also displayed both groups achieved low component scores for fruits, vegetables, milk, and food variety. Although OW/OB group had poorer diet quality than NW group, both groups had low consumption of fruits, vegetables, milk, and less varied diet. Therefore, there is a need for educational campaigns on food groups' diversification especially in increasing nutrient-dense food in their diet to increase awareness in healthy eating among young adults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)345-359
Number of pages15
JournalPertanika Journal of Social Sciences & Humanities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • diet quality
  • Dietary intake
  • healthy eating index
  • Normal-Weight
  • overweight/obese
  • young adults

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