BLDE University Journal of Health Sciences

: 2020  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 20--25

Nutritional status of Hill Korwa preschool children of Jashpur:A particularly vulnerable tribal group of Chhattisgarh

Subal Das, Manisha Ghritlahre, Aafreen Siddiqui, Khangembam Somibabu Meitei 
 Department of Anthropology and Tribal Development, Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya, Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Subal Das
Department of Anthropology and Tribal Development, Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya, Koni, Bilaspur - 495 009, Chhattisgarh


INTRODUCTION: Malnutrition is considered as one of the major public health problems in developing counties like India. AIMS: To understand the nutritional status of preschool children of Hill Korwa Tribe of Jashpur district, Chhattisgarh, India. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A crosssectional study was carried out among the preschool children of Hill Korwa Tribe, Jashpur district Chhattisgarh, India. In total, 106 children between 2-6 years of age including 60 boys and 45 girls were screened for their nutritional status and hygienic practices. Data of age and hygienic practice (lavatory use and drinking water) were collected from their parents/care takers and also from aanganwadi workers. The statistical analysis was done using statistical package with Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) Statistics version 23. Verbal approval from their parents was obtained before the beginning of data collection. RESULTS: The age-sex combined overall prevalence of undernutrition of the studied population is 54.7%. Comparatively girls are more undernourished (62.2%) than boys (49.2%). Negative significant sex difference (t = -2.967, sig = 0.010) in mean BMI at the age of 2 years has been observed. The highest prevalence of undernutrition was found among those children who are practicing open defecation (63.4%) than those children who were using toilets (36.9%). Significant age difference in the prevalence of nutritional status has been observed among girls (χ2 = 32.162, df = 8, P = 0.000). CONCLUSION: The present study reveals a high prevalence of undernutrition among Hill Korwa children aged between 2-6 years. Proper nutritional and awareness program on hygienic practices can have a significant impact in reduction of undernutrition among them. Target oriented and community specific program based on, survey report of health and nutritional status should be designed.

How to cite this article:
Das S, Ghritlahre M, Siddiqui A, Meitei KS. Nutritional status of Hill Korwa preschool children of Jashpur:A particularly vulnerable tribal group of Chhattisgarh.BLDE Univ J Health Sci 2020;5:20-25

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Das S, Ghritlahre M, Siddiqui A, Meitei KS. Nutritional status of Hill Korwa preschool children of Jashpur:A particularly vulnerable tribal group of Chhattisgarh. BLDE Univ J Health Sci [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Aug 11 ];5:20-25
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The tribal population of India comprises 8.6% of the total population of India.[1] Out of the total tribal population, 89.97% of tribes live in rural areas, whereas 10.03% of tribes live in urban areas.[2] There are a total of 705 notified schedule tribes in India with 75 particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs).[2] PVTGs are mainly isolated tribes and live in remote areas. They depend on forest products and not integrated with the mainstream population.[3] The central-east Indian region has the largest proportion of Scheduled Tribes (STs) which is about 52.5% spread in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and West Bengal.[4] Similarly, the majority of the PVTGs live in the seven states, namely Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu.[5] Chhattisgarh has a total of 42 notified STs with 05 PVTGs. Hill Korwa (Pahari Korwa) is one of them and others are Abujhmaria, Birhor, Baiga and Kamar, Pahari Korwa is mainly concentrated in Jashpur, Sarguja, and Raigarh districts. The family structure of Pahari Korwa is nuclear.[2] It is evident from various studies that the children are the most vulnerable group of the society.[6],[7] Various national nutritional programs provide the best possible arrangements to the needy for better survival and have proper growth and development during growing age.[8] Out of the various factors, poverty and poor consumption of food leads to the high prevalence of low birth weight in newborn children; later on, this affects the health of the child.[9],[10],[11] The mortality rate under 5-year-old children is very high in India (34.0%) than that of the total death rate of India.[12]

Nutritional status helps to evaluate the well-being of an individual or community for their health.[13] Malnutrition is considered as a major public health problem in developing countries such as India.[14] In India, many recent studies have been conducted on the nutritional status of preschool children.[13],[15],[16],[17],[18],[19],[20],[21] Other studies revealed that there is a strong association between hygienic practices and nutritional status of the children under 5 years of age group because they are one of the important determinants for better health.[22],[23] Good hygienic practices protect from communicable diseases.[24],[25] The global definition of an “improved” sanitation facility is one that hygienically separates human excreta from human contact.[26] Nowadays, hygienic practice has become a burning issue for any society.[27] Access of clean water, sanitation, and good hygienic practices are the basic requirements for the proper growth and development of the children.[28] The purpose of the present study intends to understand the prevalence of undernutrition among 2–6-year-old children belonging to one of the five PVTGs (Hill Korwa) of Chhattisgarh with respect to their assess to clean drinking water and use of toilets in Jashpur, Chhattisgarh.

 Materials and Methods

The present study has been carried out among the Hill Korwa PVTG tribal children aged 2–6 years of Bagicha block of Jashpur district, Chhattisgarh. Five villages randomly selected for study are Rajpur, Chundapath, Pandripani, Shivpur, and Bend of Jashpur, Chhattisgarh. Hill Korwa belongs to Kolarian tribe and converse in Mundari language. They are inhabitants of the deep forest areas in scattered manner and rely mainly on wild forest products on the basis of knowledge gathered by their ancestors.[2] Totally 106 children, i.e., 61 boys and 45 girls, are measured for their nutritional status. The data on hygienic practices such as access of drinking water and sanitation facility were collected through door-to-door visit and through anganwadi centers (Integrated Child Development Scheme) using a structured questionnaire. The respective age of children has been recorded from anganwadi register or polio card provided by the State Government. During fieldwork, mothers/caretakers of children were informed about our motive, and verbal consent was obtained from them. Stature (cm) and weight (kg) were measured using standard anthropometer rod and standard weighing scale to the nearest tenth of a centimeter (in height) and kilogram (in weight). Measurements were taken by the trained research scholar (AA) and one of the co-authors (SD). Both variables were measured thrice, and the average of the three repeated measures was then used. For evaluating the nutritional status, body mass index (BMI; kg/m2) was computed following standard equation as BMI = weight (kg)/height (m2).[29] Internationally accepted BMI classification [30],[31] for children has been used for assessing nutritional status. Ethical approval was obtained from the proper authority before the commencement of the research. The statistically significant value was considered at P < 0.05. All statistical analyses were done using the Statistical Packages for Social Sciences- 21 (IBM SPSS Statistics, IBM Corp. Released 2012. IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 21.0. Armonk, NY: IBM Corp).


The sample distribution of the studied children based on their age and sex is presented in [Table 1]. The overall mean and SD with respect to weight have been observed as 12.30 kg (2.53) for boys and 12.20 kg (2.43) for girls, and for height, it has been observed as 91.02 cm (10.10) for boys and 92.26 cm (10.33) for girls, respectively [Table 2]. The overall mean (SD) BMI (kg/m2) of boys and girls has been observed as 15.09 (3.69) and 14.48 (2.75), respectively [Table 2]. It has cleared from the table that there observed a negative significant sex difference (t = −2.271; sig = 0.039) for weight at the age of 2 years, and it shows that the mean weight of girls at the age of 2 is more than their male counterparts. Similarly, a positive significant sex difference (t = 3.637, sig = 0.002) is also observed at the age of 4 years, and it shows that boys at the age of 4 years have greater mean weight than their female counterparts. It has also been observed that there is a negative significant sex difference (t = −2.967, sig = 0.010) in mean BMI at the age of 2 years, and it signifies that girls have more overall body mass at age of 2 years than boys [Table 2].{Table 1}{Table 2}

[Table 3] presents the age- and sex-specific nutritional status of the studied children. The prevalence of undernutrition has been found highest at the age of 3 years for both boys (14.7%) and girls (28.9%), respectively. Moreover, the highest prevalence of overweight for both sexes has been observed at the age of 6 years for boys (4.9%) and at 5 years for girls (8.9%), respectively. The age–sex-combined overall prevalence of undernutrition of the studied population is 54.7%. Girls are more undernourished (62.2%) than boys (49.2%). A significant age difference in the prevalence of nutritional status has been observed among girls (χ2 = 32.162, df = 8, P = 0.000). A significant difference (age and sex combined) (χ2 = 24.925, df = 8, P = 0.002) has been also observed in the overall prevalence of nutritional status.{Table 3}

[Figure 1] shows the nutritional status of the children on the basis of their source of drinking water. In this study, those children who were using well for drinking water are more undernourished (69.5%) than those who are using hand pump (41.8%), respectively. The overall prevalence of undernutrition was observed highest among girls (62.2%) for using both well and hand pump as their drinking water than boys (49.1%), respectively. Similarly, the prevalence of overweight has been found highest among those children who are using hand pump (17.6%) than those who are using well (3.8%), respectively. It has been clearly observed that there is an overall sex-combined significant difference (χ2 = 7.454*, df = 2, P = 0.023) in nutritional status for using different sources of drinking water.{Figure 1}

[Figure 2] shows the nutritional status of the children on the basis of their sanitation. The overall prevalence of undernutrition was found highest among those children who are practicing open defecation (63.4%) than those children who were practicing close defecation (36.9%). The sex-specific prevalence of undernutrition was found highest among the girls (40.0%) who are practicing open defecation than boys (34.4%). The prevalence of overweight is found highest among boys (8.1%) who are practicing open defecation than girls (6.6%), respectively.{Figure 2}


Tribal children are more at high risk of undernutrition than their rural counterparts, and it reflects the poor nutritional status of a population.[32],[33] Sociodemographic variables affect the nutritional status of a community in a broadway.[34],[35] The prevalence of undernutrition is occurred highest among India in the world.[36] Source of drinking water and sanitation are the major factors for different health hazards among children in developing countries.[7],[37] Improved conditions of sanitation and hygiene practices are associated with reduced prevalence of malnutrition, and it will offer a better chance of survival.[38] This study revealed the hygiene practices (access to clean water and sanitation) and nutritional status of the preschoolers and also showed the trends by comparing with other studies. The overall (age and sex combined) prevalence of undernutrition is 54.7% which shows the critical situation of Hill Korwa preschoolers. The prevalence of undernutrition is found highest among girls (62.2%) than boys (49.2%), respectively. [Figure 3] shows the comparative prevalence of undernutrition for the present study with other existing studies of the past 8 years.[8],[16],[28],[38],[39],[40],[41],[42],[43],[44],[45],[46],[47] It infers that the prevalence of undernutrition is found to be highest among slum children of Kanpur Nagar,[8] whereas the lowest is reported among rural Bengalee preschooler (35.47%)[47] that is lower than the present study. The present study shows that 54.7% of children are undernourished (critical). The reason behind very high prevalence of undernutrition among present studied preschool children are access to clean drinking water and open defecation, which makes children undernourished, vulnerable and deprived segment of the society.{Figure 3}


Thus, we can conclude from the above findings that the children (particularly preschool) undernutrition still remains one of the significant and urgent public issues in Jashpur, Chhattisgarh. The present study also revealed the degree of undernutrition among preschool children in Jashpur, Chhattisgarh. The sex-combined prevalence of undernutrition was 54.7% (critical situation). More girls (62.2%) than boys (49.2%) are undernourished. The present study is limited to the tribal region of Jashpur area and may not be representative of all regions of Chhattisgarh. This specific information will definitely help to design effective intervention and appropriate target-oriented and community-specific program along with awareness of basic health hygiene practices in order to reduce undernutrition rate among the studied population and other populations suffering from malnutrition.

Significance statement

India is one of the developing countries having multiple castes based on their occupation and social hierarchy. In India, there have been 705 different tribal communities with 75 PVTGs (with respect to their population size). PVTGs are more vulnerable to have extinction due to their isolated living from the mainstream of population. They are still facing so many problems in their day-to-day life; they are struggling hard for their existence, health and nutrition, and so on. We are still under the shackle of hunger and malnutrition after 70 years of freedom. The findings of the present study have obvious significance because of the paucity of age and sex and ethnic specific such data. Similar studies may be conducted among the tribal, rural, semi-urban, and urban pre-school children, not only to assess the nutritional status of state and nation. Similar study will also reveal the causes of variation in nutritional status due to different social-cultural, environmental, and economical factors. Similarly, the present study will increase the data bank from this part of the world. It will definitely help the researchers worldwide to compare their study with the present one to understand the inter-intrapopulation variation. Furthermore, it will also help the policy-makers to prepare plans accordingly for overcoming the situation.

Financial support and sponsorship

This research was funded by the University Grants Commission (BSR Research Start-Up-Grant)-funded project to Dr. Subal Das (Reference No.F.30-96/2015 (BSR), dated: March 30, 2015).

Conflict of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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