Nehal Patel1, Geet Gunjana1, Shital Patel2, Rashmi Thanvi1, Paresh Sathvara1, Rajesh Joshi1
1Department of Paediatrics, GMERS Medical College, Sola, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.
2Department of Oral Surgery, AMC MET Dental College and Hospital, Khokhara, Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India.
Background: Identifying the commonly prevailing health and nutritional disorders in school going children is essential to initiate appropriate public health measures. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional prospective study was designed to conduct a detail physical health assessment of children studying in class 1-8 (age- 5-13 years) of 31 schools of Ahmedabad city, India between December 2011 and February 2012. Under the school health program of state government, medical history, height, weight and general physical examination findings, including dental and ophthalmic examination were recorded by qualified medical practitioners. Children with abnormal results were further investigated and treated by the subject experts. Result: Total 28,256 children were screened (boys-15,087 and girls-13,169). Mean weight and height of the children were 27.04 kg and 128.81 cm, respectively. Analysis of nutritional status of the cohort population as compared to body mass index standards revealed that 8319 (29.44%) children were underweight while only 221 (0.78%) children were either overweight or obese. The subgroup analysis of basic nutrition indices in children revealed prevalence of significant malnutrition (based on Indian Council of Medical Research standards) in children below 10 years of age. Commonly prevailing health disorders included worm infestation (42%), upper respiratory tract infection (36.39%), anemia (30.99%) dental caries (25.19%) and refractory errors (10.2%). Conclusions: Malnutrition and related health disorders are commonly prevailing childhood diseases in the urban community and can effectively be addressed by appropriate public health program.
Keywords: Health status, Indian children, nutritional status, school health.