Prevalence of Thinness among tribal preschool children of West Bengal: An assessment measured by BMI cut off points

Thinness is a major underlying problem among tribal preschool children in the developing countries including India. To assess the prevalence of low body weight/ thinness based on age and sex specific new international BMI (proposed by Cole et al.2007) cut-off points, among 2-5 years tribal preschool children of West Bengal, India. A total 643(328 boys and 315 girls) tribal preschool children were studied from 36 villages using the stratified random sampling method. Commonly used indicators, that is, height, weight, and BMI were used to evaluate the nutritional status. The present study revealed that the nutritional status of the studied tribal preschool children was poor with a very high rate of thinness in boys and girls (69.5% and 69.2%, respectively). Significant age differences in mean height, weight and BMI (p= <0.001) among boys and girls were observed. The results of the present study clearly indicate that the nutritional status of these children is unsatisfactory. Very high prevalence of thinness was present among the pre-school children and this was indicative of major nutritional deprivation. The proposed values may be useful in evaluating growth and nutritional status of tribal preschool children. It may also be used for comparisons with other ethnic groups.