Associations between waist circumference, Body Mass Index (BMI), food habits and perceived stress were investigated in urban dwelling South Indian adults (N=347). The questionnaire was informed by prior qualitative research, piloted and administered by interview-assisted survey in English and Tamil. A 25-item Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) assessed eating habits on a seven point scale from “never” to “five times daily”. Perceived stress (PS) was assessed using PSS4 “global measure of perceived stress” scale (Cohen et al, 1983) for which responses were recorded on a five point Likert scale (“never” to “very often”). BMI, body weight and waist circumference (WC) were recorded. Data were analysed by Pearson correlations using SPSS v17.0. BMI was associated with being female, while measures of waist and weight were associated with being male. Positive correlations were found between age and waist circumference, but not BMI. (PS) “unable to control things” was associated with being female. A weak association between PS “difficulties piling so high, you cannot overcome them” and weight was found. There were no other associations between PS and other anthropometric measures. Lower PS was associated with more frequent consumption of coffee, buttermilk, skimmed milk, paneer, curd, prawns, potatoes, sweets/biscuits, butter, fruit, vegetables and alcoholic drinks. Higher perceived stress was associated with more frequent consumption of fish, daal, chocolate and coconut milk. Further analyses are required to determine the degree to which stress is an antecedent or consequence of dietary habits.
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Funding This analysis has been supported by the HRB (Ireland) Centre for Health Research.