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The Journal of Community Health Management

A qualitative study on dietary habits and nutritional awareness among school children

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Research Article

Author Details : Geethika Koneru*, N S. Sanjeeva Rao, T. S.R.Sai

Volume : 6, Issue : 4, Year : 2019

Article Page : 105-112

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Introduction: Though poorly documented, older school going children in India are also subject to malnutrition. Children in this age group especially require increased proteins and micronutrients during their growth spurt. Research on their nutritional behaviour and dietary habits is scanty.
Objective: To understand knowledge regarding nutrition and dietary habits among secondary school children with the use of qualitative research methods.
Materials and Methods: This study involving students of 8th to 10th grades in a school in Mangalagiri, Andhra Pradesh was done in November 2017. Focus group discussions were conducted by grade and gender. Information obtained was triangulated by key informant interviews (local paediatrician, school teacher) and literature search. The sessions were recorded and transcribed diligently. Emerging themes were identified about knowledge and behaviour.
Results: The themes identified were – Knowledge about specific nutrients and balanced diet, Role of diet in preventing disease, Food preferences among school children, Misconceptions about foods, Gender differences in dietary habits, Influence of junk food, Body image and exercise. Knowledge obtained from school curriculum was limited and children were influenced more by cues from family and media. According to one ninth grader “Brown rice is healthy but not at all tasty”. Another boy said “Junk food sometimes gives me a stomach upset, but it is too good to give up”
Conclusion: Qualitative research gives an in-depth picture of issues which are difficult to capture. While school children have some insights into nutrition, there are lacunae. A more informative school curriculum would prevent the development of wrong attitudes in children.

Keywords: Qualitative, School children, Nutritional awareness, Dietary habits.

Doi : 10.18231/j.jchm.2019.023

How to cite : Koneru G , Rao N S S, S.r.sai T, A qualitative study on dietary habits and nutritional awareness among school children. J Community Health Manag 2019;6(4):105-112

Copyright © 2019 by author(s) and J Community Health Manag. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY-NC 4.0) (