Medical Journal of Malaysia

MJM, Vol 70 Supplement 1 September 2015

Prevalence of habits in relation to food consumption

Fatimah Othman

Institute of Public Health, Ministry of Health Malaysia


Introduction: Proper food or drink habit is an important factor to contribute to a good oral health. An eating habit such as water and fruit consumption, as well as food chewing, carbonate beverage intake, straw usage, mouth rising and teeth brushing are identified influence factors that contribute to oral hygiene. The aim of this study is to determine the prevalence of such habits in relation to main meal intake.

Methods: A cross-sectional, multistage stratified sampling study of Malaysian adult population, aged 18-years and above was conducted. A total of 4044 respondents were sampled and interviewed by trained interviewers using a structured questionnaire.  The data were analysed using SPSS version 22.

Results: Findings have shown that 99% (95%C1: 98.5-99.3) of Malaysian adult consumed plain water either before, during, or after the main meal. Plain water drinking after the meal was the most practiced by the adult, which comprised of 59.05 (95% CI: 56.6 – 61.4) compared to another mealtime. Fruit consumption was practiced by 89.0% (95%CI: 87.2-90.7) of the respondents and, 72% (95% CI: 69.7-74.1) of them consumed the fruit after a meal compared to other main meal times. About 88.6% (95%CI: 85.2-91.3) reported the awareness of the length of chewing before swallowing, and 73.8% (95% CI: 70.9-76.5) chew the food less than 20 times. There were, 80.8% (95% CI: 78.7-82.7) of the respondents drink carbonated beverages and 51.6% (95% CI: 48.8-54.4) of them did not use a straw to drink. In relation to mouth rinsing, 62.5% (95% CI: 59.8-65) of the respondents did rinse the mouth after taking sugary food, and it always performed by 61.7% (95% C1: 58.6-64.8) of them. In this study, 95.6% (95% CI: 94.4-96.6) of responders brush the teeth before breakfast, but only 52.4% (95% CI: 49.4-55.4) brush the teeth after the main meal.

Conclusion: In light of these findings, there is a need to promote healthy food consumption among adults in Malaysia in relation to fruit consumption, chewing of food, use straw while drinking carbonated beverages and tooth brushing after main meals.