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Background and Objectives: Adolescence which is the transitional period between childhood and adulthood is often the neglected phase as the adolescents are often regarded as relatively healthy with the focus being given for children and women. Addressing the nutritional needs of adolescents could be an important step in curbing malnutrition among them. With the rising epidemic of Non-communicable diseases, it is equally important to address both the issues of under-nutrition and over-nutrition. Hence this study was undertaken to assess the nutritional status and associated risk factors of malnutrition among the school going adolescents from 5th to 12th standard in the rural field practice area of Hassan Institute of Medical Sciences (HIMS), Hassan.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among the school going adolescents attending the government and private schools of the rural field practice area of the medical college from January 2017 to June 2018. The sample size of 830 was divided between the three areas under rural field practice area as per sample size proportional to population. BMI was measured and WHO reference charts 2007 for BMI was used to categorize the nutritional status of the adolescents.
Results: The prevalence of malnutrition among the school going adolescents was found to be 44.1% of which the prevalence of thinness and severe thinness was 15.8% and 21.3% respectively and that of overweight and obesity was 5.8% and 1.2% respectively. On logistic regression, male gender, government school, lower socio-economic status, deworming status and open-air defecation were identified as significant risk factors for undernutrition and female gender, private school, upper socio-economic status, low levels of physical activity, excess television watching, consuming junk foods, breakfast skipping, inadequate sleeping hours were identified as significant risk factors for over nutrition.
Conclusion: The prevalence of malnutrition among the school going adolescents was found to be 44.1% in our study. Gender, type of school in which they study, socio-economic status and life style behaviours were found to be significant risk factors for malnutrition. There is a need for health education programmes, regular monitoring and effective policies to promote healthy eating and lifestyle changes among adolescents to curb the burden of malnutrition.
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