Obesity in children and adolescents in gradually becoming a major public health problem in India. Indian states are currently facing the double burden of under nutrition as well as over nutrition. Under nutrition is more prevalent in rural areas, whereas overweight and obesity are more than three times higher in urban areas. Obesity is not an immediately lethal disease itself, but has a significant risk factor associated with a range of serious non-communicable diseases in Indian population.
Aim To assess the prevalence of obesity and overweight among school children and identify its associated risk factors. In rural and urban areas in Rajasthan India.
Material and method Study done in school children in the age group of 10–18 years by using stratified random sampling. Weight and height of each student was measured using standard measures and body mass index (BMI) was calculated. A semi-structured questionnaire was filled evaluating risk factors like family history of obesity, intake of high calorie including junk foods, physical inactivity and television and/or computer viewing.
Results In the present study the prevalence of obesity and overweight association with socioeconomic status and the risk factors like diet, physical activity like exercise, sports, sleeping habit in afternoon, eating habits like junk food, chocolate, eating outside at weekend, family history of diabetes and obesity. Incidence of obesity was 4.5% and overweight was 12%. A significantly greater number of boys (15%) were overweight as compared to girls (10%). More than half of the adolescents in the study group spent 1–4 h/day viewing TV or sitting at the computer The incidence of obesity/overweight was found to be significantly higher in those adolescents who ate meals outside home. The mean scores of replacing snacks for meals were significantly higher in obese and over-weight adolescents as compared to adolescents with a normal body mass index
Conclusion Obesity as an emerging health problem India due to an increasing sedentary lifestyle and faulty dietary habits. Family history of obesity, intake of high calorie foods, physical inactivity and television or computer viewing for more than 3 h a day were found to be significant risk factors of obesity