Toybox Study Malaysia: improving healthy energy balance behaviours in pre-schoolers

Staff: Leigh Gibson, Sue Reeves, Cecilia Essau, Poh Bee Koon, Carolyn Summerbell, Whye Lian Cheah, Denise Koh , Julia Lee and Ruzita Abd Talib.


Levels of childhood obesity have risen considerably in Malaysia over the last decade, such that it has become a public health priority, and strategies to treat and prevent obesity are urgently needed. The early years are a particularly important time for establishing healthy eating and physical activity behaviours. The aim of this study is to assess the practicalities of adapting the existing European ToyBox Study intervention programme to the Malaysian kindergarten setting in Kuala Lumpur and Sarawak on the Island of Borneo. Specifically we hope to adapt the ToyBox Study programme for use in Malaysia, including translation into Bahasa Malaysia and adapting the modules to local cultures; evaluate the feasibility of the intervention by assessing the acceptability of the ToyBox Study programme to parents and kindergarten teachers; and evaluate the adapted ToyBox Study programme by comparing the effects of the Toybox Study programme to usual care in kindergartens on physical activity and health‐related behaviours and outcomes.

This international collaborative study is being funded by the Medical Research Council Newton-Ungku Omar Fund.