Prevalence and determinants of obesity among adolescent school children of North Kerala

Jaya Koothupalakkal Viswambharan, Thomas Bina, Lucy Raphael


Background: Obesity has emerged as one of the major health problems in recent years. This increasing prevalence has implications in health issues in later parts of life. Life style factors and diet practices are the attributed factors to the development of obesity.

Methods: This cross sectional study was conducted among 1011 adolescent school children in Kozhikode corporation area, Kerala, South India after getting necessary permissions. A semi structured questionnaire which contained questions related to socio demographic characters, diet, physical activity and other known risk factors of obesity in adolescents was administered.

Results: 76.8% of the study subjects were of normal weight, while 15.5% were underweight (thinness- 9% and severe thinness- 6.5%). 1.9% were obese and 5.8% were overweight. The combined prevalence of overweight and obesity was 7.7%. Nuclear family, better family education, better SES, skipping breakfast and consumption of more sweets were associated with obesity.

Conclusions: Preventive and promotive measures to reduce the burden of obesity needs to be initiated from early childhood and must be insisted to the family members also. School based lifestyles and behavioural change measures, encouraging school teachers to actively participate in these measures, active involvement of school children in regular sports activities, periodic anthropometric assessment and intervention when needed along with sensitization of parents towards the consequences of obesity are some of the measures to prevent the rising epidemic.


Adolescent school children, Obesity, Overweight, Risk factors

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