Factors associated with consumption of sugar-sweetened foods and beverages in Malaysia: an ethnic comparison

  • Yong Kang Cheah
  • Azira Abdul Adzis
  • Juhaida Abu Bakar
  • Shri Dewi Applanaidu
Original Article


High intake of added sugar is related to various diseases. One of the main objectives of public health administrators is to reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened foods and beverages. The present study attempts to examine sociodemographic factors associated with consumption of sugar-sweetened foods and beverages in Malaysia. The Malaysian Household Expenditure Survey (HES) 2014 (n = 14,838) is used. The dependent variable is monthly household expenditures on sugar-sweetened foods and beverages. The independent variables are gender, age, ethnicity, marital status, education, employment status, household income, household size, region, location of residence and expenditures on tobacco and alcohol. The present study uses a two-part model to estimate the factors associated with consumption decision and amount decision of sugar-sweetened foods and beverages. Analyses stratified by ethnicity are performed. Age, household size, marital status, education level, employment status, region, location of residence, tobacco and alcohol expenditures are associated with consumption of sugar-sweetened foods and beverages. For Bumiputera and non-Bumiputera households, those who have a higher likelihood of consuming sugar-sweetened foods and beverages are less-educated, reside in Peninsular Malaysia and rural areas and spend less on tobacco, while those who spend more on sugar-sweetened foods and beverages are females, married, well-educated, employed and spend more on alcohol. In conclusion, household expenditures on sugar-sweetened foods and beverages are associated with numerous sociodemographic factors. Findings of the present study can assist policy makers in developing a more effective intervention measure directed towards reducing the intake of added sugar among people in Malaysia.


Beverage Consumption Ethnicity Food Sugar 



The authors would like to thank the Department of Statistics Malaysia for sharing the data from the Malaysian Household Expenditure Survey and to publish this paper.


This study received financial support from the CIMB Bank Berhad (KOD SO 13743).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Research Society for Study of Diabetes in India 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yong Kang Cheah
    • 1
  • Azira Abdul Adzis
    • 1
  • Juhaida Abu Bakar
    • 1
  • Shri Dewi Applanaidu
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Economics, Finance and Banking, College of BusinessUniversiti Utara MalaysiaUUM SintokMalaysia

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