Prevalence of Excessive Weight and Underweight and Its Associated Knowledge and Lifestyle Behaviors among Urban Private School-Going Adolescents in New Delhi

T. Rawal*, M. Willeboordse, M. Arora, N. Sharma, G.P. Nazar, N. Tandon, C.P. van Schayck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


With rapid urbanization and the Indian nutrition transition, Indian adolescents face a high risk of developing an energy imbalance. This study aims to assess the prevalence of excessive weight, underweight, and associated knowledge and lifestyle behaviors among private school-going adolescents in Delhi. A cross-sectional study was conducted in students (6th-7th grades) of eight randomly selected private schools in Delhi, India in 2019. A self-administered survey was used to assess students' dietary-and-physical-activity-related knowledge and behavior. Anthropometric measurements (height, weight, and waist circumference) were also conducted. Out of 1567 participants, 7.2% were underweight, 61.3% normal, and 31.5% excess in weight. Underweight was associated with significantly more eating whilst studying for exams (relative risk ratio (RRR) 1.7 (1.0-2.9)). Excessive weight was associated with less incorrect knowledge on behaviors causing overweight (RRR 0.7 (0.5-0.9)), more often reading nutritional labels of packed food items (RRR 0.6 (0.4-0.9)), and less frequent vegetable-intake (RRR 0.7 (0.4-0.9)). Underweight students showed more suboptimal knowledge and unhealthy behaviors, whilst students with excessive weight showed more correct knowledge and healthy behaviors. This study highlights the immediate need for effective health-promoting interventions focused on the importance of healthy lifestyle at least in underweight adolescents.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3296
Number of pages12
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2021


  • lifestyle behaviors
  • knowledge
  • body mass index
  • excessive weight
  • underweight
  • adolescents
  • India

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