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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 7  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 28-35

The thin end of the trend: Nutritional status of women from marginalized communities across four states of India

Public Health Resource Network, Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Aditi Hegde
Aashiana Apartments, Mayur Vihar Phase-1 Extension, Delhi.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jhrr.JHRR_20_20

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Aim: Malnutrition, especially among women, has dire consequences inter-generationally and across the life cycle. Despite many efforts, the burden of malnutrition has persisted in India. The aim was (a) to identify the point prevalence of undernutrition, as well as overweight and obesity, in the described geographic areas, and (b) to compare these findings with national-level data. Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in select villages of Darbha (Chhattisgarh), Jhalda (West Bengal), Mohgaon and Samnapur (Madhya Pradesh), and Sonua and Kathikund (Jharkhand) between March 2016 and February 2017. Villages were selected through convenience sampling. The data were collected intra-programmatically by persons trained in health and nutrition using standard weighing scales and stadiometers. The World Health Organization classification of body mass index (BMI) for adults has been adapted for classification purposes. This study used descriptive statistics to analyze the data and used Stata 15.1 for this purpose. Results: Over 12,000 women had their BMI measured, of which 11,319 were valid. Overall, 40.64% of the participants were underweight. Upon categorizing according to severity, 8.27% of all participants were severely thin, whereas the point prevalence of moderate and mild thinness was 10.08% and 22.29%, respectively. Overweight and obese women made up almost 4.1% of the population (3.69% and 0.4%, respectively). These are in stark contrast to the NFHS-4 findings where about 23% of Indian women were underweight, whereas 21% were overweight or obese. Conclusions: Marginalized communities are disproportionately affected by severe undernutrition: the prevalence of severe thinness, a proxy for chronic hunger, is unacceptably high (8.27%) among women from these communities.

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