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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter December 31, 2018

Assessment of dietary habits and nutritional status among adolescent girls in a rural area of Puducherry: a community-based cross-sectional study

Deepika Chandar, Bijaya Nanda Naik, Goutham Thumati and Sonali Sarkar



Adolescence is a crucial period for growth and dietary habit formation among females for leading a healthy life in future.


To assess the dietary habits and nutritional status using the body mass index (BMI) among adolescent girls from a rural village in Puducherry.


This community-based cross-sectional study was conducted during February 2017 among 252 adolescent girls in rural Puducherry. A semi-structured pre-tested interview schedule was used to obtain information on socio-demographic details and dietary habits from adolescent girls. Height and weight were measured by standard techniques recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Nutritional status was assessed according to the WHO BMI for age for 5–19 years. Regular and occasional food consumption were defined as consumption of particular items >3 and <3 times a week, respectively.


Mean age of the participants was 13.79 + 2.11 years and 91.3% were non-vegetarians. The majority of adolescent girls ate cereals (97.4%) and pulses (54%) regularly. However, regular vegetable (34.5%) and fruit (13.1%) consumption was low. Only about 10% and <2% had regular consumption of milk and iron-rich vegetables and fruits, respectively. Regular consumption of junk food items was found among 5.6%. Prevalence of thinness among adolescent girls was 10.7% (95% CI: 7.3–15) and overweight was 13.5% (95% CI: 9.7–18.1).


In this adolescent population, though consumption of cereals and pulses were adequate and satisfactory, the consumption of fruits, vegetables and iron/calcium rich foods was inadequate and poor. About one-fourth of adolescent girls had an abnormal nutritional status. Hence, focused nutritional and health-education intervention should be given to encourage the consumption of fruits and vegetables, iron-rich and calcium-rich food items.


I would like to acknowledge the staff of JIRHC, and the interns of 2011 and 2012 for their contribution & support in conducting this study.


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Received: 2018-01-01
Accepted: 2018-03-27
Published Online: 2018-12-31

©2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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