Nutritional status of adolescent school children in a semi-urban area based on anthropometry

Vinoth Selvaraj, Shanthi Sangareddi, Lakshmi Velmurugan, Umakanthan Muniyappan, Fatima Shirly Anitha


Background: Adolescent nutrition is generally given less importance when compared to the under-five nutrition in developing countries like India. Studies throwing light on the nutritional status of adolescent children are needed. Aims and objectives of the study were to know the prevalence of obesity, overweight, thinness, severe thinness and stunting in adolescent schoolchildren based on anthropometry and its association with various factors.

Methods: A cross sectional study was done in six schools in a semi urban area of Southern part of India during November 2012-November 2013.Obesity,overweight,thinness, severe thinness and stunting were determined in the children of the age group of 9-17 years based on WHO Z scores. A predesigned questionnaire and clinical examination were used to find out the factors associated with malnutrition and their implications.

Results:Out of the 2100 children studied, the prevalence of obesity was 6%; overweight 10.9%, thinness 13%; severe thinness 5% and stunting 19.8%. Mother’s education, occupation and socioeconomic status have significant associations with both over nutrition and under nutrition. Skipping breakfast is associated with thinness.

Conclusions:Even though obesity and overweight are increasing in recent times; under nutrition is still prevalent in adolescent school children. Routine school health visits, improving female literacy, dietary modifications, imparting health as well as physical education are the need of the hour to avoid malnutrition in adolescent school children.


Obesity, Thinness, Stunting, Anthropometry

Full Text:



Obesity: preventing and managing the global epidemic. Report of a WHO consultation. Geneva, World Health Organisation. 2000. (WHO Technical Report Series, No.894).

Spear B. Adolescent growth and development. In: Rickert VI (ED). Adolescent nutrition assessment and management. New York: Chapman & Hall. 2002:1-24.

Rao S. Nutritional Status of Indian population. J Biosci. 2001;26:481-9.

Iyer UM, Bhoite RM, Roy S. An exploratory study on the nutritional status and determinants of malnutrition of urban and rural adolescent children (12-16) years of Vadodara city. International Journal of Applied Biology and Pharmaceutical Technology. 2011;2(1):102-7.

Iyer U, Elayath N, Akolkar A. Magnitude and Determinants of Overweight and Obesity in 6-12 year old school children of Vadodara City. Curr Pediatr Res. 2011;15(2):105-9.

Yan-Ping Li, Xiao-Qi Hu, Jing-Zhao, Xiao-Guang Yang, Guan-Sheng Ma. Application of the WHO Growth Reference. to Assess the Nutritional Status of Children in China. Biomedical and Environmental Sciences. 2009;22:130-5.

Fazili A, Mir AA, Pandit IM, Bhat IA, Rohul J, Shamila H. Nutritional Status of School Age Children (5-14 years) in a Rural Health Block of North India (Kashmir) Using WHO Z-Score System. Online J Health Allied Scs. 2012;11(2):2.

Saxena Y, Saxena V. Nutritional status in rural adolescent girls residing at hills of Garhwal in India (2009). Internet J Med Update. 2011;6(2):3-8.

Wamba PCF, Oben JE, Cianflone K. Prevalence of Overweight, Obesity, and Thinness in Cameroon Urban Children and Adolescents, Journal of Obesity. 2013; Article ID 737592:9.

Ene-Obong H, Ibeanu V, Onuoha N, Ejekwu. Prevalence of overweight, obesity, and thinness among urban school-aged children and adolescents in Southern Nigeria. Food Nutr Bull. 2012;33(4):242-50.

Chowdhary SD, Chakraboraty T, Ghosh T. Prevalence of under nutrition in Santal Children of Puriliya district West Bengal. Indian Pediatrics. Jan 2008;45(1):43-6.

Mitra M, Kumar PV, Chakraboraty S, Bharati P. Nutritional Status of Kamar Tribal Children, Chhattisgarh. Indian J of Pediatrics. 2007;74(4):381-4.

Anand K, Kant S, Kapoor SK. Nutritional status of adolescent school children in rural North India. Indian Pediatrics. 1999;36:810‑5.

Ogden CL, Lamb MM, Margaret D, Carroll MSPH, Katherine M. Flegal, Ph.D. Obesity and Socioeconomic Status in Children and Adolescents: United States. 2005-2008. NCHS Data Brief. 2010:50.

Senbanjo IO, Oshikoya KA, Odusanya OO, Njokanma OF. Prevalence and risk factors for stunting among school children and adolescents in Abeokuta, southwest Nigeria. J Health Popul Nutr. 2011;29(4):364-70.

Srivastava A, Mahmood SE, Srivastava PM, Shrotriya VP, Kumar B. Nutritional status of school-age children-A scenario of urban slums in India. Archives of Public Health. 2012;70:8.

Jelliffe DB. The Assessment of the Nutritional Status of the Community. WHO Monograph No. 53. World Health Organization, Geneva. 1966.

Marwaha RK, Tandon N, Singh Y, Aggarwal R, Grewal K, Mani K. A study of growth parameters and prevalence of overweight and obesity in school children from Delhi. Indian Pediatrics. 2006;43:943-52.

Wickramasinghe VP, Lamabadusuriya SP, Atapattu N, Sathyadas G, Kuruparanantha S, Karunarathne P. Nutritional status of schoolchildren in an urban area of Sri Lanka. Ceylon Med J. 2004;49(4):114-8.

Mendoza JA, Zimmerman FJ, Christakis DA. Television viewing, computer use, obesity, and adiposity in US preschool children. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2007;4:44.

Robinson TN. Reducing children’s television viewing to prevent obesity: a randomized controlled trial. JAMA. 1999;282:1561-7.

Goyal RK, Shah VN, Saboo BD, Phatak SR, Shah NN, Gohel MC. Prevalence of overweight and obesity in Indian adolescent school going children: Its relationship with socioeconomic status and associated lifestyle factors. Journal of association of physicians in India. 2010;58:151-8.

Ishaque A, Ahmad F, Zehra N, Amin H. Frequency and factors leading to obesity and overweight in school children.J Ayub Med Coll Abbottabad. 2012;24(2):34-8.

Croezen S, Visscher TLS, ter Bogt NCW, Veling ML, Haveman- Nies A. Skipping breakfast, alcohol consumption and physical inactivity as risk factors for overweight and obesity in adolescents: results of the E-MOVO project. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2009;63:405-12.

Kaur S, HPS Sachdev, SN Dwivedi, Lakshmy R, Kapil U. Prevalence of overweight and obesity amongst school children in Delhi, India Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2008;17(4):592-6.

Tremblay S, Williams JD. Is the Canadian childhood obesity epidemic related to physical inactivity? International Journal Obesity. 2003;27:1100-5.