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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 529-533

Health profile and nutritional status of rural primary school children in Western Maharashtra. Is school absenteeism associated with undernutrition?

Department of Community Medicine, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Arun Kumar Yadav
Department of Community Medicine, Armed Forces Medical College, Pune - 411 040, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mjdrdypu.mjdrdypu_620_20

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Background: Healthy adulthood thrives on the foundation of a healthy childhood. Earlier studies show different morbidity patterns and prevalence of under-nutrition in children studying in Government primary schools. The present study was undertaken to explore the morbidity pattern and nutritional status of children studying in a government primary school in the field practice area of Rural Health Training Centre of a medical college in Pune, Western Maharashtra. Methodology: A cross-sectional study was done in a Government Primary School during January–February 2019. A total of 134 school children studying in classes 1st to 7th underwent anthropometric measurements, medical examination, dental examination, and haemoglobin estimation to bring out the common morbidities present in children of school-going age. School records of the past 6 months of the academic year 2018–19 were used to know the prevalence of absenteeism among the subjects studied, and an attempt was made to find any association between absenteeism and under-nutrition among school children. Results: Out of 134 children, 26 (19.4%) were stunted, 51 (38.64%) were underweight, and 2 (1.49%) were found to be obese. Dental caries was found in 73 (54.48%) pupils, and it was the commonest morbidity found. Eighty-six (64.18%) of the examined school children were anemic. Thirty-five (26.12%) had ear problems, skin problems were found in 35 (26.12%), 6 (4.48%) had refractive errors, and 2 (1.49%) were having Tachycardia. An association was found between abesentism and underweight (P = 0.02). Conclusions: The present study found that under-nutrition is present among children studying in a rural Government school despite the mid-day meal programme being implemented in the school. Targeted interventions may be planned for undernourished children to improve their nutritional status, and more studies are required to assess their health needs and problems.

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