Body Mass Index and Chronic Energy Deficiency among Adult Male Lodhas and Kharias of Mayurbhanj, Odisha. Comparison with other tribal populations of Eastern India

Odisha is one of the most backward states in India. Naturally its reflection will be felt in the tribal communities also. There exists scanty information of the prevalence of under-nutrition among the tribal population of Odisha. In view of this, the objective of the present study is to report the anthropometric characteristics and determine the nutritional status, based on BMI, of the adult male Lodhas and Kharias, two particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PTGs) of Mayurbhanj district of Odisha, India. A comparison is also made with other tribal males of Eastern India. A total of 204 Lodha (from three villages) and 157 Kharia (from five villages) adult (>18 years) men of Mayurbhanj district, Odisha were studied. Height and weight were recorded and the body mass index (BMI) was computed using the standard equation. Nutritional status was evaluated using internationally accepted BMI guidelines. Lodha males had significantly higher mean height (p<0.001), weight (p<0.001) and BMI (p<0.1) compared with the Kharias. Both the Lodha (48.5%) as well as the Kharia (50.3%) males had similar high rates of Chronic Energy Deficiency (CED). According to the WHO classification of public health problem of low BMI, the prevalence of CED was very high (≥40%) in both these groups, indicating a critical situation. This paper also provides strong evidence that, in general, tribal population 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.