Prevalence and correlates of childhood obesity in suburban area of Odisha: a cross sectional study

Prevalence and correlates of childhood obesity in suburban area of Odisha: a cross sectional study

Developed countries are under the clutch of obesity, which is slowly inching towards developing countries. Thirty five million children in developing countries were estimated to be either overweight or obese and more than ninety million are at risk of it. In rapidly growing developing countries like China, Brazil and India obesity and overweight is increasing among urban adolescents. Many of them in particular India are grappling with both under- and over-nutrition.

This study attempts to explore obesity and overweight prevalence among school going children in suburban areas of Cuttack city, Odisha, India and their correlates. A predesigned and pretested questionnaire was used to interview the study participants to elicit information about their age, number of siblings, birth order of the child, working status of parents, television screen viewing time, mode of transport to school and dietary habit of the students. A total of 550 children studying in class five to ten participated in our study.

The result shows that out of the 550 children screened, nearly (14) 2.5% students were thin or severely thin, whereas (67)12.1% students were overweight or obese. Univariate analysis revealed that girls were almost five times at higher risk of being overweight/obesity compared to boys (OR: 4.78 95%CI: 1.35-16.93). Children who used motorized vehicles for going to school had an unadjusted Odds ratio of 10.08 [95%CI: 2.08-48.77] of being overweight or obese compared to those who walked to school. Having more than one child at home (OR= 0.15, 95%CI: 0.039-0.6) and doing physical activity for more than 30min per day (0.105, 95%CI: 0.015-0.72) were found to be protective against overweight and obesity.

In conclusion, the authors assert that the problem of obesity and overweight has pervaded to peri-urban school children in Odisha and advice that measures should be initiated to curb the problem in the early stage. Schoolteachers and parents have an important role in this context. Some initial measures to curb the incidences of obesity in schools include compulsory physical activity, discouraging sedentary lifestyle and long screen viewing and educating on healthy food options in schools.

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