BMI below 18.5 is dangerous. Only 22.8 per cent kids had normal BMI. (Representational image)
Hyderabad: Malnutrition among children is not only a rural phenomenon, it exists in Hyderabad too. A study conducted by four researchers from Tata Institute of Social Sciences-Mumbai, St. John’s Research Institute-Bengaluru and University of Hyderabad on malnutrition among adolescent students from government schools in Hyderabad has revealed this.
The study sample was small for the research – 197 participants comprising 84 males and 113 females aged between 12 and 17 years from 13 government schools in Hyderabad. It threw up shocking results.
The researchers found that 76.1 per cent of the students were malnourished, having Body Mass Indexes (BMI) of less than 18.5. The lowest recorded BMI was a dangerous 12.5.
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As per the World Health Organisation, BMI below 18.5 is considered underweight and less than 16 is in the "severe thinness" category.
Only 22.8 per cent of the participants had normal BMI of between 18.5 and 24.99. Being overweight or obese, a rising concern associated with children in urban areas, was not a problem for most children from the government schools with only 1 per cent of the study sample having BMI above 25.
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The researchers also tried to understand the socio-economic perspective to malnourishment. During research, the school children were defined the concept of pucca houses indicating higher economic strata and kaccha (temporary) houses, indicating lower economic strata. It was found that malnourishment was higher by 6 per cent among children who lived in kaccha houses.