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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 150-154

Screening of nutritional status of male undergraduates in Kolkata using anthropometric indices

1 Lecturer, Department of Physiology, Vidyasagar Collge for Women, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, India
2 Department of Integrated Medical Care, Medical University of Bialystok, Poland

Date of Web Publication11-Nov-2014

Correspondence Address:
Pallav Sengupta
Department of Physiology, Vidyasagar College for Women, University of Calcutta, Kolkata
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2321-4848.144320

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Context and Aims: Anthropometric measurements can easily reflect the nutritional status of an individual. The purpose of this study is to investigate the magnitude of obesity and undernutrition based on body mass index (BMI) and direct, derived anthropometric variables, among college students of Kolkata. Subjects and Methods: Anthropometry is generally considered as the single most easily obtainable, inexpensive, and non-invasive method that reflects body composition. A total of 100 male students aged 18-22 years of different undergraduate colleges of Kolkata have participated in this study. Anthropometric profiles (a total of 24 direct and derived variables) including weight, height, waist, and hip circumferences were measured. Results: Results showed 14.68% of the studied population are underweight, 9.25% are overweight, and 0.89% is obese, as per BMI. The present report showed higher prevalence of normal BMI (75.16%) in male college students, whereas obesity was almost found to absent among participants. Conclusion: The findings of the present report indicated occurrence of almost normal nutritional status among male undergraduates of Kolkata based on BMI and anthropometric indices

Keywords: Anthropometry, body mass index, conicity index, obesity, WHR

How to cite this article:
Sengupta P, Krajewska-Kulak E. Screening of nutritional status of male undergraduates in Kolkata using anthropometric indices . Arch Med Health Sci 2014;2:150-4

How to cite this URL:
Sengupta P, Krajewska-Kulak E. Screening of nutritional status of male undergraduates in Kolkata using anthropometric indices . Arch Med Health Sci [serial online] 2014 [cited 2023 Mar 29];2:150-4. Available from: https://www.amhsjournal.org/text.asp?2014/2/2/150/144320

  Introduction Top

Anthropometry is a practical and immediately applicable technique for assessing nutritional status, which can provide useful insights into the nutrition and health situation of entire population. Anthropometric indicators are less accurate than clinical and biochemical techniques when it comes to assessing individual nutritional status. In many field situations where resources are severely limited, however, anthropometry can be used as a screening device to identify individuals at risk of undernutrition, followed by a more elaborate investigation using other techniques. [1] Similarly, growth monitoring permits the detection of individuals with faltering growth, who can then be appropriately referred to specialized care. [2] Many anthropometric indicators are used, viz., mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC), body mass index of Quetlet (BMI). [3]

Malnutrition in men can result in reduced productivity, slow recovery from illnesses, and increased susceptibility to infections. Malnutrition denotes impairment of health arising either from deficiency or excess or imbalance of nutrients in the body. Young adulthood is an important period in the individual's life. They represent around 20% of the global world's population and around 84% of them are found in developing countries; constituted 22.8% of the population in India as on 1 st March 2000. Malnutrition among Indian population has long been recognized as a serious problem, but national-level data on levels and causes of malnutrition have been scarce. [4]

Though, for individual assessment of body composition, anthropometry is being replaced by more accurate but also more complicated methods, calculation of individual BMI from weight and height, however, still remains a valid tool for epidemiological studies on assessment of nutritional status. Typically, the composition of human body is assessed to determine percentage of body fat. However, it is now clear that in addition to the amount of fat in the body, its topography particularly the abdominal fat deposition is considered to be the most atherogenic, diabetogenic, and hypertensiogenic fat deposition of the human body. [5],[6],[7],[8],[9] Thus, the aim of this study is to determine malnutrition/obesity pattern and also to investigate the relationship of various anthropometric measures with body composition variables among college students of Kolkata, India. Although data that can be used to evaluate trends are limited, some insight can be gained into the nutritional situation of selected population.

  Materials and Methods Top


In this cross-sectional study, male (n = 50) subjects between 18-22 years of age were randomly selected as participants. Subjects were undergraduate students of different colleges of Kolkata. The entire experimental protocol was explained to them to allay their apprehension. Consent from each participant was taken for conducting the study, and the experiments were carried out following Institutional ethical permission. Subjects were instructed to take their last meal at least two hours before conducting the test in order to avoid the specific dynamic action (SDA) of food. All the experiments were carried out and measurements were taken in temperature of 20 o -25 o C and relative humidity of about 45-50% in winter season in India, both in control subjects and fishermen, to avoid seasonal influence on fitness pattern. To minimize the experimenter bias, each measurement was taken for three times, and the mean was represented as final result. Subjects with any type of disease, specially cardiac and respiratory ailments, were not taken for experiments, only healthy subjects are considered for each experiment. Each subject was given sufficient rest before each experiment to get accurate result.

Assessment body mass index

The BMI of Quetelet is the statistical measure, which compares a person's weight and height by the following formula: [10],[11] BMI = mass (kg)/(Height in m)2 . The WHO [12] regard a BMI of less than 18.5 as underweight and may indicate malnutrition, while a BMI greater than 25 is considered overweight and above 30 is considered obese.

Measurement of body fat percentage

Body fat can be estimated from the body mass index or BMI. There is a linear relationship between densitometrically-determined body fat percentage (PBF) and BMI, taking age and gender into account. Based on which following prediction formulas have been derived, which showed a valid estimate of body fat at all ages, in males and females. But, in obese subjects, the prediction formulas are slightly overestimated. The prediction error is comparable with other methods of estimating body fat percentage, such as skinfold thickness measurements or bioelectrical impedance. [13],[14],[15] The following formula to predict body fat percentage is based on current BMI, age, and gender: PBF = (1.20 × BMI) + (0.23 × Age) − 10.8-5.4.

Determination of body surface area

Body surface area (BSA) is the measured or calculated surface of a body. Various calculations have been published to arrive at the BSA without direct measurement. Dubois and Dubois formula was used for estimating body surface BSA. [16]

Anthropometric profiles

A total of 24 metric measurements were taken for each subject including direct and derived anthropometric and physiological variables. The anthropometric measurements taken for each subject were: Height, weight, eye height standing, elbow rest height standing, abdominal extension, sitting height, knee height, buttock-to-knee length, five circumferences i.e. mid-upper arm (MUAC), thigh (TC), calf (CC), minimum waist (WC), and maximum hip (BC). However, in the present communication, 13 directly measured variables and 11 derived variables: Body surface area (BSA), body mass index (BMI), body adiposity index (BAI), fat mass (FM), fat mass index (FMI), fat free mass (FFM), fat free mass index (FFMI), waist-to-height ratio (WHTR), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR), MUAC-to-height ratio (MHR), and conicity index (C-index) were included. All anthropometric measurements were made by using standard anthropometric techniques as proposed by Lohman et al.[17] All the derived variables were computed using standard equations. [18]

Statistical analysis

Results were expressed as mean ± standard deviation (SD). If differences between groups were established, the values of the treated groups were compared with those of the control group by a modified t-test. A value of P < 0.05 was interpreted as statistically significant. [19]

  Results Top

Anthropometric profiles showed the prevalence of normal BMI and malnutrition among the studied population based on PBF, WC, and WHR, which are presented in [Table 1]. It also represents comparative aspects of physical variables (BSA and BMI).
Table 1: Anthropometric variables (both direct and derived) of undergraduate male (n=100) college students

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The frequency of overweight and underweight students is presented in [Table 2]. The overall prevalence of obesity (BMI > 30.00) was almost absent in the studied sample, but the prevalence to be overweight (BMI 25.0-29.9) was observed in males (9.25%). But, most of the student populations are found to have normal range of body weight (75.16%), as found on the basis of BMI. It may be noted that this estimation is based on an indirect technique, i.e. anthropometry and International Classification of BMI cut-off points. [12]
Table 2: Distribution of BMI and prevalence of malnutrition/obesity among undergraduate college students of Kolkata (n=100)

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[Figure 1] describes some common anthropometric measures of college students. Some of these parameters also indicate the tendency towards obesity of male students.
Figure 1: Direct anthropometric measures of male (n = 100) college students

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  Discussion Top

BMI is considered as a better index for assessing nutritional status, because it does away with the need of height-weight tables and is independent of type of physical frame. [20] Therefore, in the present study, the body composition of undergraduate college students was calculated according to critical limits of BMI as recommended by WHO. [20] [Table 1] shows various physical parameters and indicators of nutritional status, which showed normal BSA in male students.

[Table 2] presents the distribution of all subjects according to BMI classification. Though it was observed that most of the subjects have normal BMI (75.16%), the results indicated that occurrence of undernutrition was also observed among students.

Among male students, only 9.25% of the students are found to be overweight. Conversely, they showed a higher degree of undernutrition (14.68%) as found on the basis of BMI. But, it could be due to their young age, thus tends to being leaner than obese. [21],[22],[23]

Morphometric analysis of the body is virtually the investigation of the process of life, which reflects the general health status of an individual. [24],[25] From the public health point-of-view, anthropometry is the most valid measure for the identification of sub-clinical forms of malnutrition. [26] Various anthropometric indices including BMI and body circumferences are available, those play an important role in predicting the health status. In this present study, normal range of stature, eye height, acromial height, elbow rest height, abdominal extension, and mean upper arm, thigh and waist circumferences were found in male college students. WC and abdominal extension reflects abdominal fat distribution in males, which has again reflected in WHR. Among WC and WHR, WC is considered to be a better index for fat location and also for predicting lipid profile in adult. [27],[31]

On the other hand, it is well known that MUAC is an estimate of energy store and protein mass of the body, which is an indirect estimate of strength, [27] which has found to be more in male students. As the studied population is comprised of young adults, they also showed expected higher values in MUAC and TC, which are also indicator of distribution of muscle mass.

  Conclusion Top

Thus, the present study reports about the normal range of BMI and body weight among young male undergraduate students.

  Abbreviations Top

BAI Body Adiposity Index

BMI Body Mass Index

BSA Body Surface Area

CC Calf Circumference

FFM Fat Free Mass

FFMI Fat Free Mass Index

FM Fat Mass

FMI Fat Mass Index

MHR MUAC-for-height

MUAC Mean Upper Arm Circumference

PBF Percentage of Body Fat

SDA Specific Dynamic Action

TC Thigh Circumference

WHR Waist-to-hip ratio

WHTR Waist-to-height ratio

  Acknowledgment Top

Authors' thank the Principal, Vidyasagar College for Women, University of Calcutta for providing valuable guidance; the faculty of Department of Physiology, Vidyasagar College for Women and B.Sc. Final Year Physiology Honors students.

  References Top

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18.World Health Organization. Physical status: The use and interpretation of anthropometry. Report of the WHO Expert Committee, Technical Report Series, No. 854. Geneva: World Health Organization; 1995.  Back to cited text no. 18
19.Das D, Das A. Statistics in Biology and Psychology. 4 th ed. Calcutta: Academic Publishers; 2005.   Back to cited text no. 19
20.World Health Organization. Obesity: Preventing and managing the global epidemic. Report of the WHO Consultation on Obesity, Technical Report Series, No. 854. Geneva: World Health Organization; 1998.  Back to cited text no. 20
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22.Sengupta P, Bhattacharya K. Effects of high altitude and nutritional status over the physical fitness of young residents of Pokhara, Western Nepal. South East Asia J Pub Health 2012;2:34-8.  Back to cited text no. 22
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24.Dutta S, Joshi KR, Sengupta P, Bhattacharya K. Unilateral and bilateral cryptorchidism and its effect on the testicular morphology, histology, accessory sex organs and sperm count in Laboratory Mice. J Hum Repro Sci 2013;6:106-10.  Back to cited text no. 24
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28.Sengupta P. Environmental and occupational exposure of metals and their role in male reproductive functions. Drug Chem Toxicol 2013;36:353-68.  Back to cited text no. 28
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31.Sengupta P, Sahoo S. An Ergonomic Assessment and Fitness Evaluation of Young Male Tea Factory Workers in Dooars, West Bengal. Prog in Health Sci 2012;2:51-7.  Back to cited text no. 31


  [Figure 1]

  [Table 1], [Table 2]


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