Medical Journal of Malaysia

MJM, Vol 70 Supplement 1 September 2015

Physical inactivity among Malaysian adults: Which domain is the worst?

Azahadi O*, Lim KK*, Hazizi AS**, Khoo YY*, Siti Fatimah MH*, Joanita S***

*Institute for Public Health, Ministry of Health, Malaysia, **Universiti Putra Malaysia, ***Hospital Tengku Ampuan Rahimah, Klang


Introduction: Physical inactivity has been identified as one of the major risk factors for the cardiovascular diseases. Factors contributing factors to the escalating level of physical inactivity include insufficient participation in physical activity during leisure time, rise in sedentary behaviour during occupational and domestic activities and increase in the use of "passive" modes of transport. This study described the physical inactivity level in each of the three domains (working, travelling, leisure time) among Malaysian adults.

Methodology: Physical activity is one of the module in the Malaysian Adult Nutrition Survey (MANS) 2014 which  was a population-based survey conducted among adult aged 18 to 59 years old. One respondent was selected from each household using a multi-stage stratified random sampling design. Physical activity levels were assessed using the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPAQ) via face-to-face interview. GPAQ assessed the overall physical activity and level of physical in the above mentioned three domains.

Results: Overall, 36.9% of Malaysian adults were physically inactive. The level of inactivity was higher in females compared to males (50.0% vs 24.7%). There was no significant difference in inactivity levels between urban and rural respondents. The percentages of physical inactivity for working, leisure time and travelling domains were 55.0%, 70.0% and 84.8% respectively. Only 3.2% of Malaysian adults were active in all three domains, with another 16.4% active in two domains and 34.4% active in only one domain.

Conclusion: Although the overall physical inactivity level was relatively low, inactivity by domain was still high especially in the travelling domain. Programme and campaign to reduce physical inactivity should be intensified in all domains especially when less than 5% of Malaysian adults were active in all three domains.

Keywords: Physical inactivity, GPAQ, MANS, Malaysia