High incidence of obesity among adolescents in Udupi, says study

Special Correspondent
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Regular intake of junk food like burgers could lead to obesity in children.
Regular intake of junk food like burgers could lead to obesity in children.

In a study conducted across 22 educational institutions of Udupi, of the 3,241 adolescents surveyed, 2.4 per cent were found to be overweight and 1.4 per cent obese, according to their body mass index (BMI) as defined by the World Health Organisation (WHO). As per the waist-hip ratio (WHR), 16.3 per cent of the number of adolescents were found to be obese.

The findings were from a study on the prevalence and determining factors of adolescent overweight and obesity conducted among adolescents in the age group of 10 to 18 in schools and colleges of Udupi taluk between 2007 and 2009. The cut-off levels for BMI and WHR used for classification and analysis were as laid down by the WHO. Both the criteria showed that females had higher proportion of obesity.

Socio-economic status

The levels of obesity and overweight varied across the socio economic status; the prevalence of obesity was more than 5 per cent and overweight more than 7 per cent among those belonging to upper socio economic class.

The number of overweight and obese adolescents was significantly higher among those who used motorised transport from home to school and those who had lesser average duration of physical activity per week.

Prasanna Mithra P., Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Kasturba Medical College (KMC), Mangalore, who undertook the study, told The Hindu that the findings of the study cannot be taken as representative of the entire district. He says a number above 10 per cent (of obese people) is very high so 16.3 per cent of obese adolescents in an area is high (and therefore a matter of concern). Also to be noted, he says, is that 7 per cent of those who were overweight belonged to the higher socio-economic class.


While the BMI classification has four categories (under-nutrition, normal, overweight and obese), the WHR has two categories (normal and obese).

  • ‘2.4 p.c. were overweight and 1.4 p.c. obese’

  • ‘It cannot be taken as representative of the whole district’




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