Adolescent girls studying at private schools in the city have better physiological development than the girls studying at government schools - a trait directly associated with contrasting income of their families.
A recent study conducted on school going girls by Jaspreet Kaur, assistant professor at home science department of Government College for Girls, here reveals that girls at private schools are much taller and weighty than girls studying at government schools, as most of the students at government schools come from economically backward families.
However, the study further says the adolescent girls at private schools are more prone to obesity and hypertension as compared to the girls at government schools. Furthermore, most of the adolescent girls at government schools are underweight, it adds.
Jaspreet presented her research papers titled 'Physical growth performance and obesity prevalence in adolescents' at the prestigious Congress of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences held in Manchester, the UK, from August 5-10.
Around 1,400 delegates from around the world participated at the congress.
Divulging modus operandi of her research, Jaspreet said: "It took four years to complete the research, which was based on a sample study of 1,049 girls between the age 10 and 16 years in selected government and private schools of the city. Out of 1,049 girls, 535 cases were studied at government schools while 514 at reputed private schools.
"I observed, on an average, weight and height achieved by girls at private school at the age of 12, was being achieved by girls at the age of 16 in government schools, as most of them belonged to economically weaker section," she said, adding that the growth rate in girls at private schools is higher.
Jaspreet, who conducted the study under the guidance of SP Singh, former professor at the department of human biology, Punjabi University, Patiala, told Hindustan Times that the objective of the study was to know the growth performance of school going girls in the city.
However, she cautioned that the study found a large number of girls at top private schools were suffering from pre-hypertension or hypertension as compared to the girls at government schools; adding that junk food and obesity could be the reason.
Jaspreet said most of the girls at private schools were either overweight or obese while in government schools many girls were found under weight.
The parameter of the study was the same as observed under the standards of World Health Organisation and National Center for Health Statistics - if a girl's body mass index (BMI) is more by 10%, then she is considered over weight.
"There is a need to pay proper attention towards girl students of both government and private school," said Jaspreet, adding that the problems could be redressed with the help of entire community.
Study figures of both private and government schools girls
Government schools - 23.17%
Private schools - 6.22 %
Private schools - 28.59%
Government schools - 5.42%
Private schools - 7.78 %
Government schools - 0.93 %