Nutrition and Cancer Prevention: Knowledge, Attitudes and Practices among Young Malaysians


Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the knowledge, attitudes and practices of universitystudents toward nutrition related to cancer prevention. Methodology: A total of 396 students from the Managementand Science University (MSU) participated during the semester of March 2010. Stratified random sampling wasused and consent was obtained before the questionnaire was distributed. ANOVA and the t-test were used for theunivariate analysis and multiple linear regression was used for the multivariate analysis.
Results: The participantsages ranged from 18 to 27 years (Mean±SD=23.33±1.57), more than half being female (62.4%). The majoritywere 23 years old or younger, single, Malay and from non-Medical and Health Science faculties and with a familymonthly income of less than 10,000 Ringgits Malaysia(79.5%; 99%, 65.9, 52.5%, 63.9%; respectively). Only18.4% of participants reported a family history of cancer. About 32.1% had a medical check-up in the previous12 months and 17.4% were smokers. Multivariate analysis showed the faculty type to be significantly associatedwith knowledge of cancer prevention (p = 0.04). Regular medical check-ups were associated with attitudes andpractices of cancer prevention (p = 0.04, p=0.003 respectively), the latter being significantly influenced by sex,family history of cancer and smoking (p = 0.034, p=0.013, p=0.002; respectively).
Conclusion: The majorityof participants had poor knowledge of nutrition as related to cancer prevention. Attention should be given toregular medical check-ups, awareness of family history and smoking influence.