Rapid screening for behavioral risk factors in adolescents in North India

Poonam Banga, Tarundeep Singh, Rajesh Kumar


Background: Habits get established during the transitional age of adolescence making it important to conduct surveillance to detect high risk behaviours at an early age. Feasibility of such a surveillance system was tested for monitoring the risk factors in schools.

Methods: A cross sectional survey was conducted in randomly selected schools of Chandigarh in India, by enrolling 226 students of class V to XII. A pretested structured questionnaire on dietary pattern, physical activity, tobacco and alcohol consumption, drug abuse, mental health, sexual behaviour etc., was administered after ensuring privacy and confidentiality.

Results: A total of 226 students with a mean age of 14years (range 10 to 19years) participated in the study. The prevalence of tobacco use was 8%, alcohol consumption was 3%, and drug abuse was 4%. About 47% were involved in a physical fight. Around 7% students were overweight. About 50% of the students skipped breakfast during previous week, and 6% had no intake of fruits and vegetables in last one month. Only 53% reported consistent use of seat belts.

Conclusions: Several behavioral risk factors were prevalent among school children in Chandigarh. Behaviour surveillance to monitor trends should be conducted at regular intervals.


Surveillance, Behavioural risk factors, Survey, Adolescent, School health, Non-communicable diseases

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