Prevalence of Under-nutrition among the Juangs. A study on a particularly vulnerable tribal group of Odisha, India

This study is undertaken to determine the overall prevalence of under-nutrition based on body mass index (BMI) of the Juangs, a vulnerable tribal population of Odisha, India. A total of 414 adult males and 423 adult females (≥18 years) were considered for anthropometric data from fifteen villages under two blocks of Keonjhar district of Odisha, India. Height and weight were recorded and the body mass index (BMI) was computed using the standard equation. It is observed that the Juang males show relatively higher mean height and weight in comparison with the females. There is a significant sex difference of mean BMI (t=5.68; p<0.001) between the Juang males and females. Overall, the extent of under-nutrition (BMI<18.5 kg/m2) is found to be very high among the Juangs (N-481, 57.5%) which exhibits their poor nutritional condition especially of the women. This paper also provides strong evidence that, in general, tribal populations of Eastern India are experiencing serious or critical nutritional stress. Hence immediate appropriate nutritional intervention programs are needed for implementation among all these ethnic groups.