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DIETARY AND LIFESTYLE PATTERNS IN ADOLESCENT GIRLS AND YOUNG WOMEN WITH MENSTRUAL IRREGULARITIES IN NORTH INDIA
Presha Goel*, Preesha Kaur and Dr. Meenakshi Jindal
Background: A normal menstrual cycle is an important health indicator for girls and women in the reproductive age group. However, the prevalence of menstrual problems is increasing because of hormonal imbalances occurring due to unhealthy dietary habits, lack of exercise, and increased levels of stress. High intake of foods rich in fat, sugar, and salt also leads to metabolic disturbances within the body. Aim: To study how the dietary behavior and lifestyle patterns in terms of exercise and sleep affect menstruation in adolescent girls and young adults in North India. Methodology: We conducted a survey in schools and colleges in Chandigarh among girls and young women in the age group of 14 to 24 years using close-ended questions. Menstrual patterns and the effects of diet, exercise, and sleep on menstruation were studied. Two formats were used – printed forms that were distributed to the students in schools and online forms distributed to college students through Google Forms. Observations and Results: In all we received 679 valid responses – 120 from adolescents (age groups 14-18 Years) and 559 from young adults (ages 20-24 years). BMI was calculated as weight/height2 in kg/m2. It ranged from 18.1 to 29.3 kg/m2. Overall, the prevalence of overweight (BMI ? 23 Kg/m2) was observed in 31.1% (n=212) of students. Menstrual irregularity was observed among 19.1% (n=130) students. There was a significant correlation between menstrual irregularities and lack of regular exercise. Conclusion: There is a high prevalence of menstrual irregularities among adolescents and young women in North India. This significantly correlates with a lack of regular exercise. School health programs promoting regular physical activity, healthy dietary habits, and raising awareness about menstrual health can help in addressing this issue.[Full Text Article]