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Neglected conditions
SP5-6 It's time to focus on the nutritional status of boys
  1. P Shetty,
  2. A Sejao,
  3. S Kowli
  1. K.J.Somaiya Medical College, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Abstract

Introduction Anaemia and undernutrition, is a common problem in children below 5 years of age and women in reproductive age group. Poor nutritional status predisposes the individual to several diseases, which further deteriorates their nutritional status leading to a vicious cycle. Nutritional Intervention Programmes focuses on women in reproductive age group, pre-school children and adolescent girls. There are no active measures taken to improve the nutritional status of boys.

Methodology The study was conducted in seventh standards students of a public school in Mumbai. A written consent of the school authorities and parents was taken prior to undertaking the study. Haemoglobin and Body Mass Index was assessed along with nutrition education emphasising on the importance of iron rich food and balanced diet using interactive teaching methodology.

Results Haemoglobin and Body Mass Index was assessed in 116 and 114 students respectively. Mean age of of the students was 12.97 years. Only 9.5% of the students had normal haemoglobin; 7% boys and 11.9% girls. Undernutrition was found in 62.3% of the students; 64.9% boys and 59.6% girls. The observed difference between boys and girls was found to be statistical significant.

Conclusion The higher percentage of boys with anaemia and under nutrition is a cause of concern. Weekly iron folic acid supplementation for the girls by the government seems to have contributed to a slightly lower prevalence of anaemia in girls as compared to boys. It is time that adolescent boys are also included in the nutritional intervention programmes.

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