Prevalence of thinness among 6-12 years rural children of Kharagpur A cross-sectional study in West Bengal, India

Thinness is one of the biggest problems of children residing in rural or tribal areas in our country then their urban counterparts. Children are in growing age needs more varied nutrient to reach their full growth potential. Any obstruction during this stage leads to impaired physical and mental growth that furnishes poor productivity in their overall development. India is one of the most populated countries in the world having 13.0 % (approx) children of age range from 6-12. There were sparse information on nutritional status of children using the new internationally accepted body mass index (BMI) cut-off values are available, particularly from rural areas in India. The present cross-sectional study was undertaken to determine the prevalence of undernutrition using BMI among 6-12 years rural children of Kharagpur, Paschim Medinipur, District, West Bengal, India. A total of 500 (250 boys and 250 girls) children aged 2 to 12 years from five schools were measured. Commonly used indicators i.e., weight, height and BMI, were used to evaluate nutritional status. The overall prevalence of thinness was 77.6 % and 76.4 % among boys and girls, respectively. Girls are more undernourished (80.0 %), (80.5 %), (76.7 %) and (75.0 %) at age 6, 8, 9 and 12 years than their male counterpart (79.4 %), (77.1 %), (70.6 %) and (72.2 %) of the same age. However, Boys are more undernourished (81.1 %), (82.5 %) and (81.8%) at age 7, 10 and 11 years than the girls (74.4 %), (66.7 %) and (76.0 %) of same age. Grade I thinness is found to be most prevalent among boys in all ages except age 11 and 12 years followed by grade II and III. Grade III thinness is found to be most prevalent among girls in all ages except age 7, 9 and 11 years followed by grade II and I. Thus children of all ages are very thin and they are in very critical position with respect to their nutritional status is concerned. Immediate nutritional supplement programme is required to overcome this situation.