UTILIZATION OF GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEM (GIS) IN MAPPING THE DISTRIBUTION OF MALNUTRITION AMONG PRIMARY SCHOOL CHILDREN IN KUANTAN, PAHANG, MALAYSIA
Objectives: This study aims to determine the nutritional status among primary schoolchildren in Kuantan Pahang and to map its distribution using Geographic Information System (GIS).
Materials and Methods: This community based cross sectional study was conducted in Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia. Stratified random sampling method was used to select 760 primary school children age 7 to 11 years old from six subdivisions of Kuantan district. Socio-demographics characteristics and anthropometric measurements were obtained from the participants. Participants’ home coordinates were obtained from the Google map based on their home address and Geographical Information System (GIS) software was used to map and visualize the distribution of schoolchildren nutritional status.
Results and Findings: Based on the three anthropometric measurements, findings show 15.9% (n=121) cases of obesity and 12.0% (n=91) overweight, 6.1% (n=46) moderately thinness, 1.7% (n=13) severely thinness. There were 9.5 % (n=72) of moderately stunted and 0.5% (n=4) severely stunted respectively. The result of mapping shows that there were cluster pattern of obesity in some places in urban area of Kuantan. Likewise, the distribution of stunting was seen to be overlapping with the overweight/obesity distribution.
Conclusion: A high proportion of overweight and obesity among schoolchildren was identified in Kuantan and its distribution was mapped using GIS. The findings advocate the need for further investigation to identify the root causes of poor nutritional status in order to develop informed policy, guidelines and intervention program.