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Underweight and Associated Factors Among Teenage Adolescent Girls in Resource-poor Settings: A Cross-sectional Study

Authors Singh JK, Acharya D, Rani D, Gautam S, Thapa Bajgain K, Bajgain BB, Park JH, Yoo SJ, Poder TG, Lewin A, Lee K

Received 4 September 2020

Accepted for publication 17 November 2020

Published 6 January 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 9—19


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Marco Carotenuto

Jitendra Kumar Singh,1,* Dilaram Acharya,2,3,* Divya Rani,4,* Salila Gautam,5 Kalpana Thapa Bajgain,6 Bishnu Bahadur Bajgain,7 Ji-Hyuk Park,2 Seok-Ju Yoo,2 Thomas G Poder,8,9 Antoine Lewin,10,11 Kwan Lee2

1Department of Community Medicine and Public Health, Janaki Medical College, Tribhuvan University, Janakpur, Nepal; 2Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Dongguk University, Gyeongju, Republic of Korea; 3Department of Community Medicine, Kathmandu University, Devdaha Medical College and Research Institute, Rupandehi, Nepal; 4Department of Community Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India; 5Department of Public Health, Sanjeevani College of Medical Sciences, Purbanchal University, Rupandehi, Nepal; 6Aabka Research & Consultancy, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; 7Department of Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada; 8School of Public Health, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada; 9Centre de Recherche de l’Institut Universitaire en Santé Mentale de Montréal, CIUSSS de l’Est-de-L’île-de-Montréal, Montreal, Canada; 10Medical Affairs and Innovation, Héma-Québec, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; 11Faculty of Medicine and Health Science, Sherbrooke University, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Seok-Ju Yoo
Department of Preventive Medicine, College of Medicine, Dongguk University, 123 Dongdae-Ro, Gyeongju-si 38066, Republic of Korea
Tel +82-10-8712-6730
Fax +82-54-770-2825

Background and Purpose: Understanding the undernutrition status of teenage adolescent girls living in urban slums and its associated factors is meaningful to formulate customized health strategies. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of being underweight and associated factors among teenage adolescent girls in urban slums.
Materials and Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we enrolled a total of 418 teenage adolescent girls from five of 210 urban slums of Varanasi district, Uttar Pradesh, India employing two-stage probability sampling for the selection of households and subjects, between September 2016 and July 2017. The study of underwight subjects was assessed with BMI for age using standard criteria. Factors associated with being underweight were determined by multivariable logistic regression analysis.
Results: Of 418 study subjects, 49.76% (208/418) were underweight. Results revealed that sociodemographic factors such as teenage adolescent girls who were from SC/ST (schedule caste/schedule tribe) caste/ethnicity (adjusted odds ratio (AOR)=2.02, 95%CI: 1.00– 4.23), subjects whose father’s education level was primary or lower (AOR=1.87, 95%CI: 1.12– 3.11), and number of people in the family > 4 (AOR=2.18, 95%CI: 1.18– 4.03) were associated with being underweight. Likewise, dietary behavior-related factors such as vegetarian (AOR=2.21, 95%CI: 1.25– 3.92), and < 3 meals per day (AOR=2.36, 95%CI: 1.40– 3.98) than their counterparts were associated with being underweight. In addition, teenage adolescent girls from food-insecure households (AOR=3.33, 95%CI: 2.01– 5.51) were more likely to be underweight than those from food-secure households.
Conclusion: The higher burden of underweight among teenage adolescent girls in Indian urban slums needs to be addressed through specific public health interventions such as by improving education, providing education regarding dietary behavior, and having access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious foods.

Keywords: cross-sectional study, teenage girls, urban slums, undernutrition, underweight, India

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