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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 141  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 688-696

Diet & nutrition profile of Chenchu population - A vulnerable tribe in Telangana & Andhra Pradesh, India

1 Division of Community Studies, National Institute of Nutrition (ICMR), Hyderabad, India
2 Division of Biostatistics, National Institute of Nutrition (ICMR), Hyderabad, India

Correspondence Address:
A Laxmaiah
Division of Community Studies, National Institute of Nutrition (ICMR), Jamai-Osmania (PO), Hyderabad 500 007, Telangana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0971-5916.159588

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Background & objectives: Earlier studies have documented high prevalence of undernutrition, morbidity and mortality among Chenchus, a tribal population in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, India. The present study was carried out to assess diet and nutritional status of Chenchus and cause of death. Methods: A total of 42 Chenchu villages (gudems) were covered using systematic random sampling procedure. In each gudem, all the households with at least one child under the age of five years were covered for various investigations. Weighment diet survey was carried out on a sub-sample of households. In addition, information on cause of death in the selected 42 gudems was collected for past one year using verbal autopsy method. Results: A total of 1396 subjects of all age groups were covered for various investigations. The intakes of food and nutrients were lower than the recommended levels. The prevalences of underweight, stunting and wasting among under five children were 42 per cent (CI: 37.9-46.1), 53 and 13 per cent, respectively, while 41 per cent (CI: 37.8-47.2) men and 42 per cent (34.4-47.8) women had chronic energy deficiency (BMI<18.5 kg/m [2] ). Sixty eight deaths were reported during the past one year in 42 Chenchu gudems. The major causes of death were premature delivery, low birth weight, alcoholic cirrhosis of liver, accidents, snakebite and pulmonary tuberculosis. Interpretation & conclusions: The prevalence of undernutrition in Chenchu population was comparable with other tribal and rural counterparts in Andhra Pradesh, however, the crude death rate (11.7/1000) was higher among the Chenchus. Steps may be taken to promote consumption of balanced diet and utilization of optimal healthcare facilities to control morbidity and mortality.

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