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Prevalence of Thinness in Adolescent Girls in Low- and Middle-Income Countries and Associations With Wealth, Food Security, and Inequality

Candler, T; Costa, S; Heys, M; Costello, A; Viner, RM; (2017) Prevalence of Thinness in Adolescent Girls in Low- and Middle-Income Countries and Associations With Wealth, Food Security, and Inequality. Journal of Adolescent Health , 60 (4) 447-454.e1. 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2016.11.003. Green open access

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Abstract

Purpose: Adequate nutrition during adolescence is important for optimal physical and cognitive development and for pregnancy either during adolescence or later life. Thinness among adolescent girls in low- and middle-income countries has been little studied. // Methods: We used body mass index data from 40 countries from the Global School Health Survey to estimate the prevalence of moderate and severe thinness in 12- to 18-year-olds using the World Health Organization 2007 growth reference. Self-report data on going to bed hungry were used as a proxy for household food insecurity. We used multilevel models to assess whether national wealth (gross domestic product), income inequality (Gini index), national gender inequality (Gender Inequality Index), and food security (Global Food Security Index) were associated with undernutrition. // Results: Prevalence rates of moderate and severe thinness across 61,603 girls from 40 countries were 6.30% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 5.71–6.95) and 1.34% (1.12–1.59), respectively, with higher rates in Asia. Combined moderate/severe thinness was more common among early (12–14 years) than later adolescents (15–18 years). Going to bed hungry sometimes was associated with increased risk of moderate/severe thinness (odds ratio [OR]: 1.102; 95% CI: 1.007–1.206). A significant inverse relationship was found between thinness and gross domestic product (OR: .94; 95% CI: .88–.99) and Global Food Security Index (OR: .96; 95% CI: .93–.99) but not Gini or Gender Inequality Index. // Conclusion: Thinness remains prevalent in adolescent schoolgirls in low- and middle-income countries and poses a significant threat to their health and that of the next generation. Further research is needed to assess potential interventions for this group.

Type: Article
Title: Prevalence of Thinness in Adolescent Girls in Low- and Middle-Income Countries and Associations With Wealth, Food Security, and Inequality
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2016.11.003
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2016.11.003
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Adolescent, Nutrition, Thinness, Food security, Female, Global
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute for Global Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Population, Policy and Practice Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10079663
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