World Health Organization‑Body Mass Index for Age Criteria as a Tool for Prediction of Childhood and Adolescent Morbidity: A Novel Approach in Southern Karnataka, India

Praveen Kulkarni, Nagendra N, Ashok N C, Sunil Kumar D, Hugara Siddalingappa, Madhu B


Background: Health status of children and adolescents is determined to a larger extent by their nutritional status. There are no published studies available on the influence of thinness on childhood morbidity using new World Health Organization‑body mass index (WHO‑BMI) for age criteria.

Methods: This cross‑sectional study was conducted in primary, high schools, pre‑university and degree colleges at southern Karnataka for a period of 1 year.

Results: Majority 6924 (53.6%) were in the age group of 15‑19 years with the mean age of 14.2 ± 3.1 years. 6167 (47.7%) were males and 6749 (52.3%) were females. As per WHO growth standards for children between 5 and 19 years, taking BMI for age criteria into account, 9092 (70.4%) subjects were found to be normal, 3660 (28.3%) thin and 164 (1.3%) overweight/obesity. 8224 (63.7%) subjects were suffering from some sort of morbidities. Mean morbidities rank for subjects with thinness was found to be significantly higher compared with normal and overweight/obese subjects. Thinness was found to be the major predictor of morbidity age, sex and residing in rural areas.

Conclusions: Magnitude of thinness among children and adolescents was 28.3%. BMI for age criteria was found to be a significant predictor of childhood and adolescent morbidity.

Keywords: Adolescent, body mass index for age criteria, childhood, morbidity, obese, overweight, thinness

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