High Risk Health Behavior among Malaysian Adolescents: A Comparison between Gender

  •  Mohammad Zabri Johari    
  •  Lei Hum Wee    
  •  Siti Sa’adiah Hassan Nudin    
  •  Edawaty Ujang    
  •  Norazilah Mohd. Roslan    
  •  Baharuddin Omar    
  •  Karuthan Chinna    


PURPOSE: The main objective was to study health risk behaviours, knowledge and perception amongst Malaysian adolescents aged between 13-17 years of age.

METHODS: Modified version of Youth Behaviour Risk Factor Surveillance System (YBRFSS) was used in this nationwide cross-sectional study involving 5,000 students enrolled from 50 selected schools, by adopting multi-stage sampling with randomization of schools and classes from all states in Malaysia. Descriptive data for behaviours, knowledge and perception were also compared between genders.

RESULTS: Overall, 72.6% and 21.1% adolescents were found to not perform adequate exercise or did not perform any exercise, respectively. Majority of them also (81.8%) spent time watching TV beyond one hour per day. Although overall compliance to meal timings showed better result for girls (89.2%) than boys (84.8%); non-compliance to breakfast timing was the most frequent (74.7%) compared to other meal timings. Signs of continuous sadness ranked highest (21.3%), followed by signs of depression (9.4%) and suicidal ideation (7.8%). Girls suffered worse than boys for signs of continuous sadness (25.4% vs. 16.2%) and suicidal ideation (10.4% vs. 4.5%). In terms of perception, only 50.1% responded favourably to managing their anger. Boys were more satisfied with their own body weight and body shapes compared with the girls (43.3% vs. 34.7%; 45.3% vs. 37.9%, respectively).

CONCLUSION: Although adolescents in Malaysia had good overall knowledge and perception on the healthy habits, they still practiced risky behaviours which may lead to early morbidity and mortality among adolescence.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.