Comment on "correlates of overweight and obesity among urban adolescents in Bihar, India"

  • Yenepoya Medical College, Mangalore, Karnataka, INDIA
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For better perception of adolescent overweight and obesity as a global public health problem, systematic collection of baseline data is urgently needed in India. A community-based study was undertaken for better perception of the prevalence and correlates of obesity in an adolescent urban community in Katihar, Bihar. A cross-sectional study was conducted among urban adolescents in the eastern part of India to find out prevalence of overweight and obesity and sociodemographic correlates by interview technique followed by clinical examination with ethical consideration. Out of 400 adolescent study participants, 21% were overweight or obese. The study showed that there was a significant association between less consumption of vegetable foods, fruits, meals cooked outside the home, alcohol consumption, yoga practice, socioeconomic status, and the occurrence of overweight/obesity in the adolescents. We attempted to find out the prevalence and risk correlates of overweight and obesity among adolescents and found it quite alarming compared to developed countries. The urban underserved population in India has difficulty to access quality healthcare and not conscious enough to seek healthcare until critically ill. Community-based studies are required to highlight the problem of obesity among urban adolescents by a comprehensive approach.
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To estimate prevalence of overweight and obesity in apparently healthy children from five zones of India in the age group of 2 to 17 years and to examine trends in body mass index (BMI) during the last two decades with respect to published growth data. A multicentric study was conducted in eleven affluent urban schools from five geographical zones of India. A total of 20 243 children (1 823 - central zone, 2 092 - east zone, 5 526 - north zone, 3 357 - south zone, and 7 445 - west zone) in the age group of 2-17 years were studied. Height and weight were measured and BMI was calculated (kg/m(2)). WHO Anthro plus was used to calculate Z-scores for height, weight and BMI. A comparison between study population and previously available nationally representative (1989) data was performed for each age-sex group. International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) and WHO cut-offs were used to calculate the percentage prevalence of overweight and obesity. The overall prevalence of overweight and obesity was 18.2% by the IOTF classification and 23.9% by the WHO standards. The prevalence of overweight and obesity was higher in boys than girls. Mean BMI values were significantly higher than those reported in the 1989 data from 5-17 years at all ages and for both sexes. The rising trend of BMI in Indian children and adolescents observed in this multicentric study rings alarm bells in terms of associated adverse health consequences in adulthood.
Overweight and obesity are among the most prevalent nutritional problems in developed and developing countries. The problem of obesity is confined not only to adults but also to children and adolescents. In many developing countries childhood obesity is associated with increased consumption of processed and fast food, dependence on television and computers for leisure and a less physically active lifestyle. Obesity has serious long-term consequences. Childhood obesity is not an immediately lethal disease itself, but has a significant risk factor associated with a range of serious non-communicable diseases in adulthood. Hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, type-2 diabetes mellitus, gall bladder disease, asthma, mental health concerns and orthopaedic disorders have been linked to obesity. Thus, there is an urgent need to address the problem and efforts should be made to prevent the epidemic of obesity and its associated health disasters. An attempt has been made in this article to review the data published on prevalence and mechanism of specific morbidity conditions in obese adolescent children in developing countries with special reference to India.
Development of a WHO growth reference for school-aged children and adolescents
  • M De Onis
  • A W Onyango
  • E Borghi
  • A Siyam
  • C Nishida
  • J Siekmann
de Onis M, Onyango AW, Borghi E, Siyam A, Nishida C, Siekmann J. Development of a WHO growth reference for school-aged children and adolescents. Bull World Health Organ 2007;85:660-7.
International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) and Macro International
International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) and Macro International. National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3), India, 2005-06. Bihar, Mumbai: IIPS; 2008.