Obesity among children and adolescents is a growing public health problem. The objective of this study was to evaluate the prevalence, risk factors and metabolic consequences of obesity among schoolchildren from Kashmir, India.
The study subjects (n=2024) included 870 boys and 1154 girls, aged between 6 and 18 years. Data were collected by interviewer-administered questionnaires. Information was obtained about different lifestyles, anthropometric parameters and dietary habits. Obesity was defined as body mass index (BMI) percentile as per the guidelines of Centers for Disease Control, 2000. For the evaluation of different clinical parameters, blood samples were collected from the subjects in the fasting state at 8 to 9 am after an overnight (10–12 h) fast.
The highest representation of subjects was from fee-paying private schools. Out of the total subjects, 6.69% were overweight and 4.64% were obese. The hip circumference, abdominal circumference, BMI, blood pressure (BP), use of ready-made foods as well as the clinical parameters like glucose, phosphorous, cholesterol and triglycerides were found significantly higher among girls than boys (p<0.05). Boys were taller and were physically more active than girls (p<0.01). Compared to the boys (3.33%), the girls were found to be more obese (5.63%). Rural dwelling subjects (4.22%) exhibited a lower percentage of obesity than urban population (5.00%). The difference in obesity among the different age groups was found statistically significant (p<0.05). Additionally, children with active lives in the form of vigorous (10.59%) or moderate (10.34%) exercise decreased their chances of gaining weight substantially.
Results from the present study have shown that prevalence of obesity among children was high in our population.
The authors of this study would like to thank the State Department of Science and Technology, Government of Jammu and Kashmir for their financial assistance (Grant/Award Number: ‘32ST2011’). The authors are also thankful to all the children for their voluntary participation in the study.
Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted article and approved submission.
Research funding: None declared.
Employment or leadership: None declared.
Honorarium: None declared.
Competing interests: The funding organization(s) played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the report for publication.
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