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Body Mass Index (BMI) and Self-Perception of Weight and Height among school going adolescents in urban Vadodara, India.

Prakash V Kotecha, Sangita V Patel, Vihang S Mazumdar, Rajendra K Baxi, Shobha Misra, Malay B Shah, Kedar G Mehta, Ekta Modi, Archana U Gandhi.

Background: Weight comments are commonly received by adolescents, but the accuracy of the comments and their effects on weight misperception are unclear.

Aims & Objective: To know the perceptions of adolescents about their health status, body image, height and weight and then to compare it with their actual (Body Mass Index) BMI status.

Material and Methods: This was Cross sectional study and Qualitative survey carried out using a self-administered semi-structured questionnaire among 1440 (748 girls and 692 boys) students from classes 6-12 in 7 English medium and 23 Gujarati medium schools. Five focus group discussions were held each with adolescent boys and girls from both Gujarati and English medium schools.

Results: Regarding their perception about their health status, nearly 65% of the boys and girls felt that they were healthy. While their perception about the appropriateness of their height and weight, nearly half of the boys and girls felt that they had appropriate height and weight, One-fourth of them perceived themselves to be underweight, while another fourth thought that they were obese. When adolescents’ perception of the appropriateness of height and weight was compared with their actual BMI, it was found that, 10 to 15% of them were underweight or undernourished while 25 to 30% of them were overweight or obese. Among those, having normal BMI, 59% of boys and 62% of girls felt that their height and weight was normal.

Conclusion: There has been a need for addressing physical growth, particularly; height and weight need to be explained more scientifically and in depth.

Key words: Adolescent; Body Mass Index; Self Perception; Urban; India; Height; Weight

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