Talking nutrition with adolescents in tribal regions of Telangana

On World Tribal Day (August 9), we examine the importance of nutrition messaging in staving off debilitating malnutrition

India’s tribal population is generally at risk of malnutrition owing to its dependence on primitive agricultural practices, poverty, illiteracy, and poor personal and environmental hygienic practices. Lack of access to healthcare, poor communication, traditional beliefs and customs aggravate the situation. Our conversations with adolescents belonging to the Gond tribes from the erstwhile Adilabad district, in Telangana, have focused on nutrition outcomes, common dietary habits, and understanding nutrition and health behavior.

Adolescence is a nutritionally crucial period, when dramatic increases in physical growth and development put greater pressure on the need for nutrients. In fact, call it a second opportunity to catch up on growth that will determine the rest of one’s adult life. So what is the level of nutrition knowledge and practices among tribal adolescents and how willing are they to participate in enhancing them?