What shapes adolescents’ diet and physical activity habits in rural Konkan, India? Adolescents’ and caregivers’ perspectives
Banavali U., Patil S., Chavan R., Sonawane S., Joglekar C., Fall C., Weller S., Kehoe SH., Barker M., Hardy-Johnson P.
AbstractObjective:To explore, adolescents’ and caregivers’ perspectives, about shaping of diet and physical activity habits in rural Konkan, India.Design:Five focus group discussions (FGD) were conducted with adolescents and two with caregivers. Data were analysed using thematic analysis.Setting:FGD were conducted in secondary schools located in remote rural villages in the Ratnagiri district, Konkan region, Maharashtra, India.Participants:Forty-eight adolescents were recruited including twenty younger (10–12 years) and twenty-eight older (15–17 years) adolescents. Sixteen caregivers (all mothers) were also recruited.Results:Three themes emerged from discussion: (i) adolescents’ and caregivers’ perceptions of the barriers to healthy diet and physical activity, (ii) acceptance of the status quo and (iii) salience of social and economic transition. Adolescents’ basic dietary and physical activity needs were rarely met by the resources available and infrastructure of the villages. There were few opportunities for physical activity, other than performing household chores and walking long distances to school. Adolescents and their caregivers accepted these limitations and their inability to change them. Increased use of digital media and availability of junk foods marked the beginning of a social and economic transition.Conclusion:FGD with adolescents and their caregivers provided insights into factors influencing adolescent diet and physical activity in rural India. Scarcity of basic resources limited adolescent diet and opportunities for physical activity. To achieve current nutritional and physical activity recommendations for adolescents requires improved infrastructure in these settings, changes which may accompany the current Indian social and economic transition.