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Prevalence of underweight, stunting, wasting and obesity among urban school going children – Need for action

1 Department of Community Medicine, AFMS, New Delhi, India
2 Department of OBG, AFMS, New Delhi, India
3 Department of Anaesthesiology, Rainbow Children's Hospital, Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Shikha Tyagi,
Department of Community Medicine, AFMS, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mjdrdypu.mjdrdypu_861_21

Background: The mental and physical growth, nutritional status, academic achievements of school-going children in the age group of 6-15 years are some of the important factors that would play a key role in shaping the future of our country in the coming years. Objectives: To assess the prevalence of underweight, stunting, wasting and obesity among urban school going children of Western Maharashtra, India so that corrective actions can be taken to improve the nutritional status. Methodology: We conducted a cross-sectional study on children aged 6-15 years studying in urban schools of Western Maharashtra. 2276 children were included in the study and a simple random sampling technique was used to select the sections of classes I to X standard. All children belonging to that section were included in the study. Institutional ethical clearance was taken, and informed consent was taken from all parents. Data was collected by the investigator himself by using a standard protocol and anthropometric measurements were taken using standard techniques Results: In our study, according to WHO MGRS standards, the total prevalence of underweight was 3.57% among 5-9 years old children. Out of this, 0.4% of children were severely underweight. 3.3% boys and 3.87% girls were underweight. Stunting was observed in 1.4% of children. About 0.1% of children were severely stunted. Sex specific prevalence observed was 1.2% in boys and 1.8% in girls. Wasting was observed in 11.1% children. About 1.9% children were severely wasted. Among boys, 12.6% were wasted. As for girls, 9.3% were wasted. About 19.1% and 5.1% children were overweight and obese, respectively. Sex distribution for overweight was, 22.1% boys and 15.2% girls and that for obesity was, 6.4% boys and 3.4% girls. Conclusion: Although the prevalence of underweight, stunting, and wasting was less among the study participants, nutritional education should be imparted to children, regarding the type of food to be eaten, major food groups, nutritive value of various foods, and common nutritional problems and their effects. Overweight and obesity prevalence was high, hence requiring special emphasis to be given to these children. Health education should be imparted to parents during parent teacher meetings and IEC campaigns, regarding correct dietary practices such as food diversification and common nutritional problems in children and their consequences.

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