Body Mass Index in Central India: Inter District Variation
Gautam, Rajesh K; Adak, Dipak K.; Gharami, Ajay K.; Dutta, T.
Basic causes of poor state of nutrition and infections in developing countries are poverty, low level of hygienic conditions and little access to preventive and health care. Central India is known for its high rate of population growth and mortality, which persisted over time along with a low level of social, economic and infrastructure development. In the present study the body mass index (BMI) of 31 populations residing in 38 districts of Central India (comprising the States of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh) is assessed. Anthropometric data collected by the Anthropological Survey of India were utilized in this context. The mean body mass index values of the populations of total backward and non-backward districts are found to be lower than that of well-to-do individuals of India (Bharati 1989, Khongsdier 1997, Reddy 1998), but it is not as low as that found among the South Indian populations (Ferro-Luzzi et al.1992). In the present investigation, it is also found that the majority of the backward districts fall in the category of different grade of chronic energy deficiency (CED), while in the non-backward districts a considerably less number of districts follows this trend. A better level of the nutritional status among the populations of the non-backward districts corroborates the findings of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (NFHS 1992). It reveals that the apparently healthy individuals with CED grade I in the present study may be thin but physically active and healthy. The present study, however, narrates further intensive investigations in these populations, because the BMI as a measure of the CED should incorporate the aspects like morbidity and health status of a population.