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A Study of the Health Status of Early adolescent Girls residing in Social Welfare Hostels in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh State, India

Background: Adolescent girls form an important vulnerable sector of population that constitute about one-tenth of Indian population .Under-nutrition among adolescents is a serious public health problem internationally, especially in developing countries. Early adolescence after the first year of life is the critical period of rapid physical growth and changes in body composition, physiology and endocrine. The data regarding the nutritional status & morbidity status of the early adolescent girls in social welfare hostels are sparse, despite the usefulness of such information in the management of hostels and upliftment of these groups. In this context, the present study was taken up among early adolescent girls residing in the social welfare hostels in urban area of Vizianagaram Distric, Andhra Pradesh, India.

Objective: To assess the Nutritional status of the early adolescent and to study the Morbidity pattern among these adolescent girls in the social welfare hostels.

Methods / Study Design: Cross-sectional study was carried out over a period of four months. 420 girls of age 10-15 years were examined during that period. Data was collected by interviewing the girls using predesigned, pre tested, semi-structured schedule. Anthropometric measurements were recorded using standardized methodology as recommended by World Health Organization (WHO). Body Mass Index (BMI) – BMI was calculated using the formula Weight in kg/height in m². The subjects were categorized into various grade based on BMI according to WHO International Standard. Grade 3 thinness (BMI < 16 kg/m2), Grade thinness (BMI 16-16.9 kg/m2), Grade 1 thinness (BMI 17-18.49 kg/m2),Normal (BMI 18.5-24.99 kg/ m2), Overweight (BMI 25-29.99 kg/m2) and Obese (BMI >30 kg/ m2). As per Indian Standard underweight (BMI <18.5 kg/m2), Normal (BMI 18.5-23.5 kg/ m2) and Overweight (BMI >23.5 kg/m2). Statistical Analysis: Done by using SPSS 16.0 version.

Results /Findings: A total 420 girls were studied. 37.4% were in the age group 13 years. According to WHO reference standards 56.4 % girls were under-nourished (BMI <18.5 kg/m2). Girls suffering from chronic energy deficiency grade I, II and III were 25.2%, 15.2% and 16 % respectively. 2.9% was found to be overweight and none of the girls was found to be obese. As per new guidelines by the Government of India 56.4 % was found to be undernourished while 5.8 % was found to be Overweight (BMI >23.5 kg/m2). 30% were showed clinical anaemia, 27.1% were having dental caries, 16.7 were having reproductive problem (Dysmenorrhoea), 16% were skin problem, 4 % Eye problem (defective vision & refractive error), 2.4 % were having URTI and 2.1 % ENT problem 

Conclusion: It is concluded that there is a high prevalence of under nutrition, dental caries and clinical anaemia among adolescent girls in social welfare hostels in urban sector. The present study calls for Health education and nutrition interventions to reduce the serious health problem on priority basis.

Author(s): Vinod Wasnik, B. Sreenivas Rao, Devkinandan Rao

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