Indian Journal of Community Medicine Vol. 30, No. 1, January-March, 2005
Calorie and Protein Intake and its Determinants Among Adolescent School Girls in Delhi
A. K. Sharma, D. Shukla, A.T. Kannan
Research Question 1. Is protein and calorie intake of adolescent school girls adequate? 2. What determines the dietary intake
of adolescent school girls? Objectives : This study examines the calorie and protein intake and its determinants among
adolescent school girls in Delhi. Study Design. : Cross sectional. Setting : A government and a private school in Delhi.
Participants : 336 adolescent girls studying in class VIII to XII. Statistical Analysis : t-test, ANOVA, linear regression.
Results: The calorie intake was analysed for 153 and 148 respondents from government school and 153 private school
students. The average calorie intake among government and private school students was 827.9±191.2 and 1491.3±541.0
respectively (p<0.001). Corresponding figures for protein intake were 29.95± 6.7 gm and 57.49±20.9 gm respectively (p <
0.001). Family size, number of siblings and income of family emerged as significant predictor variables for low calorie and
protein intake. Conclusion : The daily protein and calorie intake was found to be lower than the recommended dietary allowance.
The deficit was more profound in respondents of government school, and lower socio economic group. Nutrition intervention in
terms of education and awareness is required in order to improve dietary intake.
Key Words : Calorie, Protein, Adolescents, Recommended Dietary Allowances, Dietary Intake
Adolescence is a crucial period in a woman’s life. Health and
nutritional status during this phase is critical for the physical
maturity, which in turn influences the health of the offspring.
It is seen that the rate of low birth weight, prematurity and
neonatal and infant mortality is high among children born to
malnourished adolescent girls1. Adolescents constitute 21.2%
of the total population of India2. In India, malnutrition is an
important public health problem among children and
adolescents. Adequacy of dietary intake in terms of calorie
and protein are important in order to improve the chances of
child survival and safe motherhood. In this regard, it is pertinent
to examine the factors that determine the calorie and protein
consumption pattern of adolescent girls, in order to plan
suitable intervention measures to correct the deficits in dietary
intake. Therefore this study was conducted to assess the
calorie and protein consumption and identify the factors
influencing their consumption patterns among adolescent girls
Dietary intake may be assessed by various method, as for
example diet recall interview, food frequency questionnaire
(FFQ), diet records etc.3. A food frequency questionnaire was
designed, based on Willet’s FFQ5. A pilot survey was carried
out among adolescents to identify the food items commonly
eaten by them. The dietetics department of GTB Hospital
was also consulted in this regard. Calorie and protein content
of common Indian food items was calculated using tables on
nutritive value of Indian foods6. The FFQ was pilot tested on
20 adolescent girls and compared with 24 Hr. recall method. It
showed an underreporting of calorie consumption by less than
3% and protein consumption by less than 1%, hence it was
accepted as standard tool for data collection.
A cross sectional study design was selected. In order to
determine the factors influencing calorie and protein intake, it
was decided to recruit adolescent girls from a government
sponsored school. Such schools because of subsidized
education are usually attended by adolescent girls from lower
socio economic strata. Another privately owned school was
selected for recruitement of students belonging to higher socio
The sample size was calculated in order to find a difference
in protein intake of 10% among the two group of adolescent
girls at a significance level of 5%. The estimated sample size
was 168 in each group. All students enrolled in VII to XII
standard were offered to participate in the study, expected to
be in the age range of 13 to 17 years. All students were
explained the objectives of the study by one of the authors.
An informed consent in writing was obtained from all those
students who agreed to participate in the study. One hundred
sixty students from the government school and one hundred
sixty two students from the private school finally participated.
The FFQs were analyzed to estimate the average calorie and
protein consumption per day. The students with estimated
calorie intake of less than 500 calories per day and more than
3000 calories per day were considered incorrect and excluded
from the study. Similarly, students with estimated protein intake
of less than 20 grams and more than 120 grams were also
excluded. Thus calorie intake was analyzed for 153
government school and 148 private school students. Similarly
protein intake was analyzed for 145 government school and
153 private school students.
Univariate analysis was performed using unpaired t-test and
ANOVA. Multivariate analysis was performed using linear
The socio economic and demographic profile of all the 329
students is given in table I. Seventy girls from government
school and four girls from private school could not recollect
their date of birth correctly, hence age could not be calculated.
Calorie and Protein Intake Among Adolescents
Deptt. of Community Medicine, University College of Medical
Sciences Delhi-110 095
E-mail : email@example.com