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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 28  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 285-290

Prevalence of malnutrition and its associated sociodemographic and clinical factors among adolescents in selected schools of Urban Puducherry, India

Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Swaroop Kumar Sahu
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/npmj.npmj_684_21

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Background: In India, adolescents constitute 21% of the total population. Majority of boys and girls in developing countries enter adolescence as undernourished, making them more vulnerable to several diseases. Objective: Among adolescents in selected schools of urban Puducherry, we determined the prevalence of malnutrition and also assessed the sociodemographic and clinical factors associated with undernutrition. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional analytical study was conducted among adolescents (10–18 years) in selected public schools of Urban Puducherry. Data were collected using semi-structured and pre-tested questionnaires. The data collection period was between September and October 2019. Malnutrition was assessed by the World Health Organisation recommended Height-for-age and body mass index-for-age cut-offs using AnthroPlus software. Results: A total of 144 (28.9%) boys and 355 (71.1%) girls were included in the study (N = 499). The prevalence of malnutrition was 46.8% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 42.5–51.3). The prevalence of undernutrition was 33.3% (Stunting [21.6%] and Thinness [15%]). The prevalence of overweight and obesity were 10.2% and 5.8%, respectively. Male gender was found to be an independent risk factor of undernutrition (annual percentage rate = 1.4; 95% CI: 1.0–1.9); and known risk factors such as socio-economic status, parental education were not significantly associated with undernutrition. Conclusions: One in every two school-going adolescents was malnourished. Despite the high prevalence of undernourishment, over nourishment was also commonly observed. Educating parents and students about growth monitoring and dietary habits might help in bringing down the burden of malnutrition.

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