Nutritional and health status of adult women of the Lodha tribal population of Paschim Midnapore, West Bengal, India: Compared with nontribal women
Background: The tribes of India comprise approximately 8% of the total population of the country, which probably has the largest number of tribal communities in the world. In general, the tribal populations are the most underprivileged and undernourished people in India.
Objective: This study was undertaken to investigate nutritional and health status of adult Lodha women and was compared to the women of the general population.
Method: The present study was conducted on 240 women (Lodha-120; General community-120) having the age range of 18 to 45 years were randomly selected from different villages under Nayagram block in the district of Paschim Medinipur, West Bengal. The socioeconomic status was evaluated by questionnaire method. The body dimension, blood pressure and haematological parameters were measured by standard methods.
Results: The results indicated that the Lodha women belong to poor socioeconomic group. The prevalence of undernutrition among the Lodha women was very high (80%) and the risk of undernutrition among the Lodha women was significantly and approximately eleven times higher than the women of general communities. Similar trend also noted in case of blood pressure. About 31.68% Lodha women were hypotensive. The prevalence of anaemia among the Lodha women was very high (91.67%) and approximately five times higher than the women of general communities. Lodha women have significantly higher WBC count than the general community.
Conclusions: Poor economic condition, dietary deficiency, poor dietary patterns, poor sanitary conditions and unequal food sharing in the families may be causative factors for undernutrition and anaemia in Lodha community.
Keywords: Undernutrition, Hypotension, Anaemia, Tribal Population, Lodha