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A cross-sectional study of obesity and contributing factors among school students (6–16 years)

Rohit Batish, Mohan Lal, Sanjeev Mahajan, Manohar Lal Sharma.


Background: Nutrition is an important part of health and development. The term “malnutrition” addresses undernutrition and overnutrition, both having their own set of impact on health. Obesity can be seen as the first wave of a defined cluster of non-communicable diseases creating an enormous public health burden in many countries and one of the leading factors of obesity is child’s dietary behavior.

Aims and Objectives: This study aims to study the contributing factor of obesity among the schoolchildren of age group of 6–16 years.

Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in three schools of Amritsar selected by simple random method. A list of 6–16 years aged students from each class in these schools was prepared. Students were classified into normal, overweight, and obese as per their body mass index (age and gender). Out of the total 955 overweight and obese students, 355 students were interviewed regarding their dietary habits. After taking the informed consent, the information was collected on a semi-structured, pre-designed questionnaire by interviewing the mothers of students between 6 and 11 years of age and the students of 12–16 years.

Results: About 39.7% of the mothers of students were graduates and 51.3% had a family history of obesity. About 87.1% of students of working mothers and 95.3% of students of non-working mothers had a preference for fast foods over home cooked meals.

Conclusions: This study concludes that most of the overweight and obese students were in the habit of skipping breakfast on regular basis and had a preference to fast foods. Therefore, the students and their mothers need to be sensitized regarding the problem.

Key words: Childhood Obesity; Mother’s Occupation; Dietary Habits

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