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Background: Childhood obesity has been associated with increased odds of adult obesity and co-morbidities in later life. Finding the key determinants may help in designing the most appropriate and effective interventions to prevent obesity. This study aimed to identify the determinants of obesity among school adolescents in a sub-urban state of Malaysia. Methods: This cross-sectional study involved 1,404 school adolescents aged 12 years (46% boys and 54% girls). Socio-demographic, dietary and physical activity data were collected using questionnaires whilst body weight and height were measured and body mass index was classified based on WHO BMI-for-age Z-scores cut-off. Results: A multivariable linear regression model showed that BMI z-score was positively associated with parents’ BMI (P<0.001), birth weight (P=0.003), and serving size of milk and dairy products (P=0.036) whilst inversely associated with household size (P=0.022). Overall, 13.1% of the variances in BMI Z-scores were explained by parents’ BMI, birth weight, servings of milk and dairy products and household size. Conclusion: This study found important determinants of body weight status among adolescents mainly associated with family and home environmental factor. This evidence could help to form the effective and tailored strategies at the earliest stage to prevent obesity in this population.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Pediatrics

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