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Overweight/obesity and physical work capacity of affluent adolescent girls (1315 years) studying in selected public schools of Delhi

Anu Taneja Gupta, Pushpa Sundararaj, Suvira Kapoor.

Background: Adolescent obesity is closely linked to lifestyle factors, including unhealthy eating habits and decreased physical activity.

Objective: To identify overweight/obese adolescent girls aged 1315 years and assess their physical work capacity.

Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out at four public schools of Delhi catering to the affluent population involving 80 girls with body mass index (BMI) value falling above the 5th percentile. BMI was computed from height and weight measurements. General information about the subjects was obtained using a pretested semi-structured questionnaire-cum-interview schedule. Dietary intake of all the girls was assessed by 24-h recall method for 3 days. Physical work capacity determined by 3-min step test, and pre- and postexercise heart rate and blood pressure were recorded for both groups.

Result: About 70% and 50% of overweight/obese subjects possessed both parents and siblings overweight/obese, respectively. Junk food consumption was higher among the overweight/obese girls, and they indulged in activities that were purely sedentary in nature. Mean daily intake of food groups including milk, meat, fat, and sugar and of nutrients including energy, protein, thiamin, and niacin was significantly higher (p < 0.05) in the overweight/obese group when compared with the normal subjects. The mean pre- and postexercise heart rate and blood pressure levels were significantly higher (p < 0.01) for the overweight/obese group.

Conclusion: Faulty eating habits and insufficient physical activity have contributed to obesity in affluent adolescent girls of Delhi. This has led to significantly poorer physical work capacity in these girls when compared with girls showing normal weight status.

Key words: Overweight, obesity, affluent adolescent girls, physical work capacity

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