Association of Depression and Anxiety Symptoms with Body Mass Index (for age cut offs) in non-clinical sample of adolescents studying in public schools of Delhi; cross sectional study
Objectives: The present study was designed with the objective to study the prevalence of depression and anxiety symptoms among adolescents and to explore the association of these disorders with Body Mass Index. Settings and Design: School setting and Cross-Sectional study design. Participants: 546 adolescents, aged 13-15 years, studying in public schools (n=5) in Delhi (Purposive sampling). Methods and Material: Anthropometric measurements: Height of the subjects was measured using a stadiometer in cm (to nearest 0.5cm). Weight was assessed using TANITA’s Body Fat Monitor (UM-076). After gathering height and weight data, BMI (kg/m2) Z scores were calculated and classified into four categories: Underweight, Normal weight, Overweight and Obesity based on WHO’s growth standards for BMI for age cutoffs. Mental Health Assessment: For this purpose, we used the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) for ages 6-18 years; parent report version. Results: A V shaped curve (trend) was observed between the association of depression and anxiety scores in four BMI categories; with majority of the malnourished adolescents having higher scores for depression and anxiety symptoms. It was interesting to note that any deviation from normal weight, either underweight or overweight/obese was significantly associated with depression (p = <0.001) and anxiety (p = <0.001) scores. Conclusions: The study emphasizes the association between body weight and depression and anxiety symptoms among adolescents studying in public schools of Delhi. It adds to the growing body of research in the area of nutritional psychiatry which needs to be promoted for the prevention and management of these disorders through a healthy diet.
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