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To determine the prevalence of and factors associated with underestimation of bodyweight among secondary school children.
It was a school based, cross sectional study conducted in Karachi. Study population was school children of grade
9-10 (boys and girls). Data was collected through self administered questionnaire followed by anthropometric measurements.
Multistage stratified, cluster sampling technique was used. Study was approved from Ethical Review Committee of Aga Khan
University. Outcome variable ?underestimation of body weight? was assessed by students? verbal response and actual body
mass index. The statistical analysis was carried out on software SAS. Multivariable logistic regression technique was applied to
determine the factors associated with underestimation of bodyweight.
A total of 917 students participated from seventeen schools. The mean (?SD) age of students was 15 (?1.3) years.
Prevalence of overweight and obesity was found to be 8.6%, 3.6% respectively. The overall prevalence of underestimation of
bodyweight was 14.7%. Among boys it was 20% (95% C.I:16.4-23.6), whereas among girls it was 9.1% (95% C.I:6.4-11.8). The
underestimation of bodyweight was associated with male gender [aOR=3.36 (95% C.I:1.41-8.00)], high socioeconomic status
[aOR=5.58 (95% C.I:2.25-13.79)], number of sibling greater than three [aOR=0.59 (95% C.I:0.40-0.89)], and overweight/obese
students [aOR=11.54 (95% C.I:4.03-33.06)].
The high prevalence of underestimation of body weight among school children points toward urgent multifaceted
efforts at family, schools and society level. This will prevent childhood morbidity and mortality as well as adulthood obesity,
chronic diseases and ultimate overall mortality.
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