The life and health challenges of young Malaysian couples: Results from a stakeholder consensus and engagement study to support non-communicable disease prevention

S. A. Norris*, H. Anuar, P. Matzen, J. C.H. Cheah, B. B. Jensen, M. Hanson

*Corresponding author for this work
12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Malaysia faces burgeoning obesity and diabetes epidemics with a 250% and 88% increase respectively between 1996 and 2006. Identifying the health challenges of young adults in Malaysia, who constitute 27.5 % of the population, is critical for NCD prevention. The aim of the study was two-fold: (1) to achieve consensus amongst stakeholders on the most important challenge impacting the health of young adults, and (2) to engage with stakeholders to formulate a NCD prevention framework. Methods. The Delphi Technique was utilised to achieve group consensus around the most important life and health challenges that young adults face in Malaysia. Subsequently, the results of the consensus component were shared with the stakeholders in an engagement workshop to obtain input on a NCD prevention framework. Results: We found that life stress was a significant concern. It would seem that the apathy towards pursuing or maintaining a healthy lifestyle among young adults may be significantly influenced by the broader distal determinant of life stress. The high cost of living is suggested to be the main push factor for young working adults towards attaining better financial security to improve their livelihood. In turn, this leads to a more stressful lifestyle with less time to focus on healthier lifestyle choices. Conclusions: The findings highlight a pivotal barrier to healthier lifestyles. By assisting young adults to cope with daily living coupled with realistic opportunities to make healthier dietary choices, be more active, and less sedentary could assist in the development of NCD health promotion strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberS6
JournalBMC PUBLIC HEALTH
Volume14
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
ISSN1471-2458
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2014

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