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1.  A 4-compartment model based validation of air displacement plethysmography, dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, skinfold technique & bio-electrical impedance for measuring body fat in Indian adults 
Background & objectives:
Many methods are available for measuring body fat of an individual, each having its own advantages and limitations. The primary objective of the present study was to validate body fat estimates from individual methods using the 4-compartment (4C) model as reference. The second objective was to obtain estimates of hydration of fat free mass (FFM) using the 4C model.
Methods:
The body fat of 39 adults (19 men and 20 women) aged 20-40 yr was estimated using air displacement plethysmography (ADP), dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), 4-skinfold technique and bio-electrical impedance (BIA). Total body water was estimated using isotope dilution method.
Results:
All the methods underestimated body fat when compared to 4C model, except for DEXA and the mean difference from the reference was lowest for DEXA and ADP. The precision of the fat mass estimated from 4C model using the propagation of error was 0.25 kg, while the mean hydration factor obtained by the 4C model was found to be 0.74 ± 0.02 in the whole group of men and women.
Interpretations & conclusion:
The results of the present study suggest that DEXA and ADP methods can provide reasonably accurate estimates of body fat, while skinfold and bio-electrical impedance methods require the use of population specific equations.
PMCID: PMC4140034  PMID: 25027079
Air displacement plethysmography; bio-electrical impedance; body composition; 4C model; DEXA; skinfold technique; total body water
2.  Innovations in nutrition education and global health: the Bangalore Boston nutrition collaborative 
Background
India has a wide range of nutrition and health problems which require professionals with appropriate skills, knowledge and trans-disciplinary collaborative abilities to influence policy making at the national and global level.
Methods
The Bangalore Boston Nutrition Collaborative (BBNC) was established as collaboration between St. John’s Research Institute (SJRI), Harvard School of Public Health and Tufts University, with a focus on nutrition research and training. The goals of the BBNC were to conduct an interdisciplinary course, develop web-based courses and identify promising Indian students and junior faculty for graduate training in Boston.
Results
From 2010, an annual two-week short course in nutrition research methods was conducted on the SJRI campus taught by international faculty from Indian and US universities. More than 100 students applied yearly for approximately 30 positions. The course had didactic lectures in the morning and practical hands-on sessions in the afternoon. Student rating of the course was excellent and consistent across the years. The ratings on the design and conduct of the course significantly improved (p <0.001) from 2010 to 2012. Through open-ended questions, students reported the main strengths of the course to be the excellent faculty and practical “hands-on” sessions. A web based learning system TYRO, was developed, which can be used for distance learning. Four faculty members/graduate students from SJRI have visited Boston for collaborative research efforts.
Conclusion
The BBNC has become a well-established capacity building and research training program for young professionals in nutrition and global health. Efforts are ongoing to secure long term funding to sustain and expand this collaboration to deliver high quality nutrition and global health education enabled by information and communication technologies.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-14-5
PMCID: PMC3897915  PMID: 24400811
Nutrition; Global Health; Education; Training; Research
3.  Correlates of anaemia in pregnant urban South Indian women: a possible role of dietary intake of nutrients that inhibit iron absorption 
Public health nutrition  2012;16(2):316-324.
Objective
To identify correlates of anaemia during the first trimester of pregnancy among 366 urban South Indian pregnant women.
Design
Cross-sectional study evaluating demographic, socio-economic, anthropometric and dietary intake data on haematological outcomes.
Setting
A government maternity health-care centre catering predominantly to the needs of pregnant women from the lower socio-economic strata of urban Bangalore.
Subjects
Pregnant women (n 366) aged ≥18 and ≤40 years, who registered for antenatal screening at ≤14 weeks of gestation.
Results
Mean age was 22.6 (SD 3.4) years, mean BMI was 20.4 (SD 3.3) kg/m2 and 236 (64.5%) of the pregnant women were primiparous. The prevalence of anaemia (Hb <11.0g/dl) was 30.3% and of microcytic anaemia (anaemia with mean corpuscular volume <80fl) 20.2%. Mean dietary intakes of energy, Ca, Fe and folate were well below the Indian RDA. In multivariable log-binomial regression analysis, anaemia was independently associated with high dietary intakes of Ca (relative risk; 95% CI: 1.79; 1.16, 2.76) and P (1.96; 1.31, 2.96) and high intake of meat, fish and poultry (1.94; 1.29, 2.91).
Conclusions
Low dietary intake of multiple micronutrients, but higher intakes of nutrients that inhibit Fe absorption such as Ca and P, may help explain high rates of maternal anaemia in India.
doi:10.1017/S136898001200119X
PMCID: PMC3713478  PMID: 22575487
Anaemia; Pregnancy; Correlates; South India
4.  Higher maternal plasma folate but not vitamin B-12 concentrations during pregnancy are associated with better cognitive function scores in 9-10 year old children in South-India1-3 
The Journal of nutrition  2010;140(5):1014-1022.
Folate and vitamin B-12 (B-12) are essential for normal brain development. Few studies have examined the relationship of maternal folate and B-12 status during pregnancy to offspring cognitive function. To test the hypothesis that lower maternal plasma folate and B-12 concentrations and higher plasma homocysteine concentrations during pregnancy, are associated with poorer neurodevelopment, cognitive function was assessed during 2007-2008 among 536 children (aged 9-10 y) from the Mysore Parthenon birth cohort. Maternal folate, B-12 and homocysteine concentrations were measured in stored plasma samples taken at 30±2 wk gestation. The children’s cognitive function was measured using 3 core tests from the Kaufman Assessment Battery and additional tests measuring learning ability, long-term storage/retrieval, attention and concentration, visuo-spatial and verbal abilities. During pregnancy 4% of mothers had low folate concentrations (<7 nmol/L), 42.5% had low B-12 concentrations (<150 pmol/L) and 3% had hyperhomocysteinemia (>10 μmol/L). There was a 0.1-0.2 SD increase in the children’s cognitive scores per SD increase in maternal folate concentration (p<0.001 for all tests). The associations with learning ability and long-term storage/retrieval, visuo-spatial ability, attention and concentration were independent of maternal age, BMI, parity, the parents’ education, socio-economic status, rural/urban residence, religion, the child’s gestational age, birth size, sex and the children’s size, educational level and folate and B-12 concentrations at 9.5 y. There were no consistent associations of maternal B-12 and homocysteine concentrations with childhood cognitive performance.
Conclusions
In this Indian population higher maternal folate, but not vitamin B-12 concentrations during pregnancy, predicted better childhood cognitive ability.
doi:10.3945/jn.109.118075
PMCID: PMC3672847  PMID: 20335637
5.  Effect of iron status on iron absorption in different habitual meals in young south Indian women 
Background & objectives:
Iron deficiency (ID) affects a large number of women in India. An inverse relationship exists between iron (Fe) status and Fe absorption. Dietary inhibitory and enhancing factors exert a profound influence on bioavailability of Fe. Although the current recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for Fe is based on 8 per cent bioavailability, it is not clear if this holds good for the usual highly inhibitory Indian diet matrix. This study was aimed to determine Fe absorption from several habitually consumed south Indian food and to evaluate the interaction of Fe status with absorption.
Methods:
Four Fe absorption studies were performed on 60 apparently healthy young women, aged 18-35 years. Based on blood biochemistry, 45 of them were ID and 15 were iron replete (IR). The habitual meals assessed were rice, millet and wheat based meals in the ID subjects and rice based meal alone in the IR subjects. Each subject received the test meal labelled with 3 mg of 57Fe and Fe absorption was measured based on erythrocyte incorporation of isotope label 14 days following administration.
Results:
Mean fractional Fe absorption from the rice, wheat and millet based meals in the ID subjects were 8.3, 11.2 and 4.6 per cent, respectively. Fe absorption from the rice-based meals was 2.5 per cent in IR subjects.
Interpretation & conclusions:
Fe absorption is dictated by Fe status from low bioavailability meals. Millet based meals have the lowest bioavailability, while the rice and wheat based meals had moderate to good bioavailability. In millet based meals, it is prudent to consider ways to improve Fe absorption.
PMCID: PMC3657856  PMID: 23563376
Bioavailability; habitual meal; India; iron deficiency; young women
6.  Infant feeding practice and childhood cognitive performance in South India 
Archives of disease in childhood  2009;95(5):347-354.
Aim
Several studies have suggested a beneficial effect of infant breast-feeding on childhood cognitive function. Our main objective was to examine whether duration of breast-feeding and age at introduction of complementary foods are related to cognitive performance in 9-10 year old school going children in South-India.
Methods
We examined 514 children from the Mysore Parthenon birth cohort for whom breast-feeding duration (6 categories from <3 to ≥18 months) and age at introduction of complementary foods (4 categories from <4 to ≥6 months) were collected at the 1st, 2nd and 3rd year annual follow-up visits. Their cognitive function was assessed at a mean age of 9.7 years using 3 core tests from the Kaufman Assessment Battery for children and additional tests measuring long-term retrieval/storage, attention and concentration, visuo-spatial and verbal abilities.
Results
All the children were initially breast-fed. The mode for duration of breast-feeding was 12-17 months (45.7%) and for age at introduction of complementary foods 4 months (37.1%). There were no associations between longer duration of breast-feeding, or age of introduction of complementary foods, and cognitive function at 9-10 years, either unadjusted or after adjustment for age, sex, gestation, birth size, maternal age, parity, socio-economic status, parents’ attained schooling, and rural/urban residence.
Conclusions
Within this cohort, in which prolonged breast-feeding was the norm (90% breast-fed ≥6 months and 65% breast-fed for ≥12 months), there was no evidence suggesting a beneficial effect of longer duration of breast-feeding on later cognitive ability.
doi:10.1136/adc.2009.165159
PMCID: PMC3428883  PMID: 19946010
Breast-feeding; Complementary foods; Children; Cognitive performance; India
7.  Vitamin B12 deficiency & levels of metabolites in an apparently normal urban south Indian elderly population 
Background & objectives:
There is no published literature on the extent of vitamin B12 deficiency in elderly Indians as determined by plasma vitamin B12 levels and methylmalonic acid (MMA) levels. Vitamin B12 deficiency is expected to be higher in elderly Indians due to vegetarianism, varied socio-economic strata and high prevalence of Helicobacter pylori infection. We therefore, studied the dietary habits of south Indian urban elderly population and measured vitamin B12, MMA red cell folate and homocysteine (Hcy) levels.
Methods:
Healthy elderly urban subjects (175, >60 yr) were recruited. Detailed history, physical examination and neurological assessment were carried out. Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) for dietary analysis for daily intake of calories, vitamin B12, folate and detailed psychological assessment for cognitive functions was carried out. Blood samples were analyzed for routine haematology and biochemistry, vitamin B12, red cell folate, MMA and Hcy.
Results:
The mean age of the study population was 66.3 yr. Median values for daily dietary intake of vitamin B12 and folate were 2.4 and 349.2 μg/day respectively. Sixty two (35%) participants consumed multivitamin supplements. Plasma vitamin B12 level and the dietary intake of vitamin B12 was significantly correlated (P=0.157). Plasma vitamin B12 and Hcy were inversely correlated (P= -0.509). Red cell folate was inversely correlated with Hcy (P= -0.550). Significant negative correlation was observed between plasma vitamin B12 and MMA in the entire study population (P= -0.220). Subjects consuming vitamin supplements (n=62) had significantly higher plasma vitamin B12 levels, lower MMA levels and lower Hcy levels. There was no significant correlation between plasma vitamin B12, MMA, Hcy and red cell folate and any of the 10 cognitive tests including Hindi Mental Status Examination (HMSE).
Interpretation & conclusions:
Our study is indicative of higher vitamin B12 (2.4 μg/day) intakes in urban south Indian population. Thirty five per cent of the study population consumed multivitamin supplements and therefore, low plasma vitamin B12 levels were seen only in 16 per cent of the study subjects. However, MMA was elevated in 55 per cent and Hcy in 13 per cent of the subjects.
PMCID: PMC3237239  PMID: 22089603
Cognitive assessment; geriatric; methylmalonic acid; nutrition; vitamin B12 deficiency
8.  Longitudinal trends in physical activity patterns in selected urban south Indian school children 
Background & objectives:
There are very few studies describing the pattern of physical activity of children in India. This study was carried out to document patterns of physical activity in south Indian school children aged 8 to 15 yr and examine changes over a one year period.
Methods:
Physical activity was assessed using interviewer-administered questionnaires at baseline (n=256) and at follow up (n=203) in 2006 and 2007. Frequency and duration of each activity was recorded and metabolic equivalents (MET) assigned. Sedentary activity included activities with MET < 1.5, and moderate-to- vigorous physical activity (MVPA) with >3.0. For each activity, daily duration, intensity (MET), and the product of the two (MET-minutes) were computed. Children were categorized by age group, gender and socio-economic status. Height and weight were measured.
Results:
At baseline, sedentary activity was higher in children aged >11 yr, while intensity of MVPA was higher in boys than girls. Over one year, physical activity at school significantly decreased (P<0.001). There was also a significant decrease in MVPA MET-min (P<0.001) with interaction effects of age group (P<0.001) and gender (P<0.001).
Interpretation & conclusions:
There was a significant decline in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity over a single year follow up, largely due to a decrease in physical activity at school. There appears to be a gap between State educational policies that promote physical well-being of school-going children and actual practice.
PMCID: PMC3181017  PMID: 21911969
Overweight; physical activity; physical education; school age population
9.  Association of birthweight and head circumference at birth to cognitive performance in 9-10 year old children in South India: prospective birth cohort study 
Pediatric research  2010;67(4):424-429.
To examine whether birthweight and head circumference at birth are associated with childhood cognitive ability in South-India, cognitive function was assessed using 3 core tests from the Kaufman Assessment Battery for children and additional tests measuring long-term retrieval/storage, attention and concentration, visuo-spatial and verbal abilities among 505 full-term born children (mean age 9.7-y). In multiple linear regression adjusted for age, sex, gestation, socio-economic status, parent’s education, maternal age, parity, BMI, height, rural/urban residence, and time of testing, Atlantis score (learning ability/long-term storage and retrieval) rose by 0.1 SD per SD increase in newborn weight and head circumference respectively (p<0.05 for all) and Kohs’ block design score (visuo-spatial ability) increased by 0.1 SD per SD increase in birthweight (p<0.05). The associations were reduced after further adjustment for current head circumference. There were no associations of birthweight and/or head circumference with measures of short-term memory, fluid reasoning, verbal abilities and attention and concentration. In conclusion higher birthweight and larger head circumference at birth are associated with better childhood cognitive ability. The effect may be specific to learning, long-term storage and retrieval, and visuo-spatial abilities, but this requires confirmation by further research.
doi:10.1203/PDR.0b013e3181d00b45
PMCID: PMC3073480  PMID: 20032815
10.  Sociodemographic patterning of non-communicable disease risk factors in rural India: a cross sectional study 
Objectives To investigate the sociodemographic patterning of non-communicable disease risk factors in rural India.
Design Cross sectional study.
Setting About 1600 villages from 18 states in India. Most were from four large states due to a convenience sampling strategy.
Participants 1983 (31% women) people aged 20–69 years (49% response rate).
Main outcome measures Prevalence of tobacco use, alcohol use, low fruit and vegetable intake, low physical activity, obesity, central adiposity, hypertension, dyslipidaemia, diabetes, and underweight.
Results Prevalence of most risk factors increased with age. Tobacco and alcohol use, low intake of fruit and vegetables, and underweight were more common in lower socioeconomic positions; whereas obesity, dyslipidaemia, and diabetes (men only) and hypertension (women only) were more prevalent in higher socioeconomic positions. For example, 37% (95% CI 30% to 44%) of men smoked tobacco in the lowest socioeconomic group compared with 15% (12% to 17%) in the highest, while 35% (30% to 40%) of women in the highest socioeconomic group were obese compared with 13% (7% to 19%) in the lowest. The age standardised prevalence of some risk factors was: tobacco use (40% (37% to 42%) men, 4% (3% to 6%) women); low fruit and vegetable intake (69% (66% to 71%) men, 75% (71% to 78%) women); obesity (19% (17% to 21%) men, 28% (24% to 31%) women); dyslipidaemia (33% (31% to 36%) men, 35% (31% to 38%) women); hypertension (20% (18% to 22%) men, 22% (19% to 25%) women); diabetes (6% (5% to 7%) men, 5% (4% to 7%) women); and underweight (21% (19% to 23%) men, 18% (15% to 21%) women). Risk factors were generally more prevalent in south Indians compared with north Indians. For example, the prevalence of dyslipidaemia was 21% (17% to 33%) in north Indian men compared with 33% (29% to 38%) in south Indian men, while the prevalence of obesity was 13% (9% to 17%) in north Indian women compared with 24% (19% to 30%) in south Indian women.
Conclusions The prevalence of most risk factors was generally high across a range of sociodemographic groups in this sample of rural villagers in India; in particular, the prevalence of tobacco use in men and obesity in women was striking. However, given the limitations of the study (convenience sampling design and low response rate), cautious interpretation of the results is warranted. These data highlight the need for careful monitoring and control of non-communicable disease risk factors in rural areas of India.
doi:10.1136/bmj.c4974
PMCID: PMC2946988  PMID: 20876148
11.  An evaluation of the hypolipidemic effect of an extract of Hibiscus Sabdariffa leaves in hyperlipidemic Indians: a double blind, placebo controlled trial 
Background
Hibiscus sabdariffa is used regularly in folk medicine to treat various conditions.
Methods
The study was a double blind, placebo controlled, randomized trial. Sixty subjects with serum LDL values in the range of 130-190 mg/dl and with no history of coronary heart disease were randomized into experimental and placebo groups. The experimental group received 1 gm of the extract for 90 days while the placebo received a similar amount of maltodextrin in addition to dietary and physical activity advice for the control of their blood lipids. Anthropometry, blood biochemistry, dietary and physical activity were assessed at baseline, day 45 and day 90.
Results
While body weight, serum LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels decreased in both groups, there were no significant differences between the experimental and placebo group.
Conclusions
It is likely that the observed effects were as a result of the patients following the standard dietary and physical activity advice. At a dose of 1 gm/day, hibiscus sabdariffa leaf extract did not appear to have a blood lipid lowering effect.
Trial Registration
REFCTRI2009000472
doi:10.1186/1472-6882-10-27
PMCID: PMC2906418  PMID: 20553629
12.  Anemia and growth failure among HIV-infected children in India: a retrospective analysis 
BMC Pediatrics  2009;9:37.
Background
Anemia and poor nutrition have been previously described as independent risk factors for death among HIV-infected children. We sought to describe nutritional status, anemia burden and HIV disease correlates among infected children in India.
Methods
We analyzed retrospective data from 248 HIV-infected children aged 1–12 years attending three outpatient clinics in South India (2004–2006). Standard WHO definitions were used for anemia, HIV staging and growth parameters. Statistical analysis included chi square, t tests, univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses.
Results
The overall prevalence of anemia (defined as hemoglobin < 11 gm/dL) was 66%, and 8% had severe anemia (Hb < 7 gm/dL). The proportion of underweight and stunted children in the population was 55% and 46% respectively. Independent risk factors of anemia by multivariate analysis included the pre-school age group (age younger than 6 years) (OR: 2.87; 95% CI: 1.45, 5.70; p < 0.01), rural residence (OR: 12.04; 95% CI: 5.64, 26.00; p < 0.01), advanced HIV disease stage (OR: 6.95; 95% CI: 3.06, 15.79; p < 0.01) and presence of stunting (Height-for-age Z Score < -2) (OR: 3.24; 95% CI: 1.65, 6.35; p < 0.01). Use of iron/multivitamin supplementation was protective against risk of anemia (OR: 0.44; 95% CI: 0.22, 0.90; p = 0.03). Pulmonary tuberculosis was an independent risk factor in multivariate analysis (OR: 3.36; 95% CI: 1.43, 7.89; p < 0.01) when correlated variables such as HIV disease stage and severe immunodeficiency, and nutritional supplement use were not included. Use of antiretroviral therapy (ART) was associated with a reduced risk of anemia (OR: 0.29; 95% CI: 0.16, 0.53; p < 0.01). No significant association was found between anemia and gender, cotrimoxazole, or ART type (zidovudine versus stavudine).
Conclusion
The high prevalence and strong interrelationship of anemia and poor nutrition among HIV-infected children in India, particularly those living in rural areas underscores the need for incorporating targeted nutritional interventions during national scale up of care, support and treatment among HIV-infected children.
doi:10.1186/1471-2431-9-37
PMCID: PMC2702283  PMID: 19531242
13.  Television viewing and sleep are associated with overweight among urban and semi-urban South Indian children 
Nutrition Journal  2007;6:25.
Background
Childhood obesity is an emerging problem in urban Indian children and increases in childhood overweight and obesity may be major contributors to the adult obesity epidemic. Thus, identifying potential risk factors for childhood obesity and formulating early interventions is crucial in the management of the obesity epidemic. The present study was aimed at evaluating dietary and physical activity patterns as determinants of overweight in a sample of children.
Methods
Five hundred and ninety eight children aged 6–16 years, visiting St. John's Medical College Hospital, Bangalore City, India for minor complaints or routine checkups were recruited into the study. These children were studied for their physical activity patterns, sleep duration, sedentary habits and eating behaviours as potential determinants of overweight.
Results
Decreased duration of sleep and increased television viewing were significantly associated with overweight. Among the eating behaviours, increased consumption of fried foods was significantly associated with overweight.
Conclusion
Our data suggests that duration of sleep, television viewing and consumption of fried foods may be significant factors that contribute to overweight. Further longitudinal studies are needed to confirm these findings.
doi:10.1186/1475-2891-6-25
PMCID: PMC2034573  PMID: 17880729
14.  Haematological response to iron supplementation is reduced in children with asymptomatic Helicobacter pylori infection 
The British journal of nutrition  2005;94(6):969-975.
We evaluated the adverse effect of asymptomatic Helicobacter pylori infection in children on the response to Fe supplementation. One hundred and sixty-nine children aged 1-10 years from the urban poor community underwent a [13C]urea breath test for H. pylori and haematological tests at admission and after 8 weeks. Both H. pylori-positive and -negative children were randomly assigned to receive ferrous fumarate syrup (20 mg elemental Fe twice daily) or placebo for 8 weeks and a single dose of vitamin A (33,000 μg). Admission findings were compared between H. pylori-positive and -negative children. Response to Fe was compared between Fe-supplemented H. pylori-positive and -negative children. Seventy-nine per cent of the children were aged 1-5 years and half of them were boys. In eighty-five H. pylori-positive and eighty-four H. pylori-negative children, the differences in mean Hb (112 (SD 12·6) v. 113 (SD 12·0) g/l), haematocrit (34 (SD 3·5) v. 35 (SD 3·2) %) and ferritin (23·8 v. 21·0 μg/l) were similar. After 8 weeks of Fe supplementation, mean Hb was 5·3 g/l more (95 % CI 1·59, 9·0) and haematocrit was 1·4 % more (95 % CI 0·2, 2·6) in H. pylori-negative (n 44) compared with H. pylori-positive (n 42) children. Mean ferritin was similar at admission and improved in both H. pylori-positive and -negative children. Asymptomatic H. pylori infection was not associated with higher rates of anaemia or Fe deficiency in children, but had a significant adverse effect on response to Fe therapy. However, this result is based on exploratory analysis and needs confirmation.
PMCID: PMC1361282  PMID: 16351775
Helicobacter pylori; Anaemia; Children; Iron supplementation; Iron status

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