• P-ISSN 0974-6846 E-ISSN 0974-5645

Indian Journal of Science and Technology


Indian Journal of Science and Technology

Year: 2018, Volume: 11, Issue: 4, Pages: 1-12

Original Article

Household Food and Nutrient Intake of Semai Aborigines of Peninsular Malaysia


Background: Malaysia is experiencing nutrition transition currently whereby the spectrum of nutrition is shifting from malnutrition towards overweight and obesity. The indigenous population of Malaysia continues to be in a state of poverty which apparently affects their food and nutrient intake. Methods: A total of 462 households with 2367 inhabitants irrespective of age and physiologic group were selected from 40 village zones spread along seven districts of Perak by population proportion to size sampling. The demographic, socio-economic, educational status and availability of physical amenities were collected through a pre-tested questionnaire. Food and nutrient intake was assessed by twenty-four-hour recall method on all members of households. All results were presented as mean values and percentages. Results: 71% of the families live below Poverty Level Incomes. Only 34% of men and 31% of women had received formal education. The Semai aborigines could meet only 70% of their energy needs. Cereals and pulses (92.5% of RNI) formed the major dietaries. Insufficient intake of green leafy vegetables (<50% of RNI), fruits (30% of RNI) and dairy products (15% of RNI) marked poor dietary diversity. Less than 50% of mean intake were recorded for vitamin A (14%), riboflavin (33.51%), iron (41%) and iodine (49%). Inadequate education, fewer employment, poor sanitary conditions, poor choices and unavailability of nutrient rich foods are the major factors that contribute to poor dietary diversity. The intervention and supplementation programs have not reached the marginalized community alike especially those residing in interior of forest fringes. Application: Nutrition education and empowerment in terms of education and employment can revert the current situation.

Keywords: Food Pattern, Nutrient Intake, Malaysia, Orang Asli, Semai


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