|Improving the Nutritional Status of Adolescent Females in Gujarat: The Case for Targeted Investment
|Hardik Parmar, Mrunal Mehta, Manoj S. Patil, Somen Saha, and Deepak Saxena
|Cureus, DOI: 10.7759/cureus.29731
Undernutrition is one of the key determinants of morbidity and mortality in adolescent females worldwide and in India. Malnutrition, particularly undernutrition, is highly prevalent among adolescent females. Although undernutrition affects the health status of adolescent females leading to poor growth and developmental problem issues among them, still, the adolescent group remains to be neglected group. The present paper particularly focuses on challenges and ways forward for improving the nutritional status of adolescent females in Gujarat.
Methods and material:
It’s a mixed method study where the secondary data analysis was conducted comparing the National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5) report with the Comprehensive National Nutritional Survey (CNNS) report for the assessment of undernutrition, overweight, and anemia status among adolescent females, and the primary assessment of the nutritional status of adolescent females across Gujarat was conducted through anthropometric measurements of height and weight.
The NFHS-5 report findings showed total thinness among adolescent females (15-19 years) in Gujarat to be 52.5%, which increased by 3% from the NFHS-4 findings. Anemia among adolescent females has also been reported to be 69%, which also increased by 12.5% from the NFHS-4 findings. Tribal regions/populations had a higher prevalence of undernutrition. Being overweight among urban adolescent females was more prevalent than in rural regions. The key findings of the CNNS report also showed that 24% of adolescent females (10-19 years) were thin while 5% of adolescent females were overweight/obese in India, while in Gujarat, 8% of adolescent females were overweight/obese. The primary data gathered suggest a prevalence of overweight in Gujarat of 8.9% in adolescent females and total thinness of 50%.
The nutritional status of adolescent females is still a major concern in many parts of India. Considering the complex set of challenges to tackle malnutrition in Gujarat and with specific attention to the adolescent group, it is vital to understand district-specific challenges and plan, program, and design district-specific strategies and implement actions to improve the existing nutritional status of adolescent females.