National Journal of Community Medicine

Original Article

Year: 2012 | Volume: 3 | Issue: 3 | Page No: 400-407

Study of School Environment and Prevalence of Obesity & Its Predictors among Adolescent (10-13 Years) Belonging to a Private School in an Urban Indian City

Author: Mehan Meenakshi, Munshi Aparna, Surabhi Somila, Bhatt Trushna, Kantharia Neha



Background: Recent shift in lifestyle and behavioral patterns in population have caused an obesity epidemic during formative years. Present study evaluated existing health and nutrition policies in a private school in an urban Indian city and assessed prevalence of obesity in adolescent children & their association if any, with predictive behaviors of obesity. Methods: A private coeducational school located in an urban Indian city was selected and its existing health policies were evaluated using CDC’s School Health Index (SHI). Further, 5 teachers were assessed regarding their knowledge, attitude and practices (KAP) of healthy dietary & lifestyle practices. Critical evaluation of school canteen services was also done. Total 273 adolescents (10-13 years) were enrolled after taking informed consent. Prevalence of obesity & its relationship with modifiable risk factors (fast food & sweetened beverage intake, physical inactivity, low fruit & vegetable intake and increased television viewing) was found by comparing behaviors amongst obese & non-obese adolescents. Their biochemical profile for assessment of anemia, dyslipidemia and high fasting blood sugar levels was also determined. Results: Current framework of school lacked clear health & nutrition policies. Canteen food service offered unhealthy food. Teachers had insufficient knowledge about healthy behaviors among children. Prevalence of overweight & obesity was 23.5%. Cumulative presence of >3 risk behaviors of obesity was significantly associated with its development (OR 2.07, 95% CI). Mean consumption of sweetened carbonated beverages by overweight and obese subjects was significantly higher (p<0.05) than non-obese. Conclusion: There is a need to sensitize school authorities and teachers about importance of a strong health and nutrition related policies and health promotion programs.

Keywords: School health, adolescents, health promotion