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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 63  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 293-297

Are our rural adolescents eating healthy?: Implications for redesigning school health interventions – A cross sectional study in rural Coimbatore

1 Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine, PSGIMSR, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Dean Medical Education and Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Believers Church Medical College and Hospital, Kuttapuzha, Thiruvalla, Kerala, India
3 Associate Professor, Department of Community Medicine, PSGIMSR, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Subhashini Ganesan
Department of Community Medicine, PSGIMSR, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijph.IJPH_420_18

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Background: Adolescence is a period of transition where independence in thinking and behavior is established and food choices that are made are followed for several years, and this can influence their health in adulthood. Hence, understanding the eating habits are necessary to plan effective nutritional interventions in adolescents. Objectives: The main objective of the study is to find out the extent of malnutrition among rural adolescents as well as evaluate their eating habits against recommended dietary food groups and to compare eating habits across gender and age groups. Methods: A cross-sectional study was done among 1425 adolescents from 13 rural schools from 2014 to 2015, and the variables considered in this study were age, sex, body mass index (BMI), and the eating habits of the adolescents. Results: Undernutrition was seen among 23% and overweight/obesity among 8% of adolescents. The habit of taking milk and milk products, fruits, and green leafy vegetables were very poor among the adolescents. Significant association was found between eating habits and BMI. Furthermore, late adolescents had better eating habits, and significant gender difference was seen in certain eating habits. Conclusions: The study shows that it is possible to understand the gaps in eating habits of adolescents, and this can be used to plan tailor-made nutritional interventions to adolescent groups as their eating habits are different and have long-term nutritional and health implications.

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