Assessment of Nutritional Status Among Adolescent Boys in an Urban Population of South India

  •  Shahla Shafiee    
  •  Mohsen Mesgarani    
  •  Khyrunnisa Begum    


Background: Deficiency of calories and certain micronutrients is known to cause growth faltering in children and adolescents. It is recognized that varieties of foods need to be consumed in order to meet requirements for essential nutrients. Lack of diversity in the diets is a serious problem among poor populations in the developing world. The extent of variations in intake of nutrients occurring in a homogeneous population provides useful information.

Subjects and Methods: This study investigates the mean intake of nutrient by 1083 adolescent males, age 10-19 years, in comparison to the RDA values suggested by ICMR for Indians. Food intakes, social class and knowledge about health education were obtained by questionnaires. Descriptive statistics, non-parametric statistics, and Chi-Square tests were performed to and interpret the data, particularly hypothesis testing.

Results: Mean intake of calories varied from 1512±532 for pre-adolescent to 1742±660 for post-adolescence, the differences in intake between pre-adolescence to adolescence was statistically significant. The intake was largely different compared to the respective RDAs including proteins which were markedly lower than the RDA. The mean intake increased linearly with the advancing stages of adolescence. Intake of calcium by boys during pre-adolescence and adolescence stage were lower by 20-30% as compared to the RDA, whereas the post-adolescent boys were found to consume a fair amount and met their RDAs. Intakes of iron and ?-carotene were highly variable, the majority of the selected boys consumed much less than the RDAs. The differences in the intakes were statistically not significant.

Conclusion: Mean intakes of nutrients indicate that the majority of the selected boys consumed protein, calories, iron, calcium and ? carotene in three stages of adolescent markedly lower than the respective RDAs. Family type, birth order and SES correlated with nutrient intake among selected adolescent boys.

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