Adolescence (10–19 years) is marked by many physiological changes and is vulnerable to health and nutritional problems. Adolescence, particularly, early adolescence is inadequately addressed in our national surveys. The present study aimed to assess the reproductive health awareness, nutrition, and hygiene of marginalized adolescent girls and boys and compare them among early and late adolescents. Our cross-sectional study was a part of a community-based project across India’s five zones, namely North, East, West, Central, and South. Unadjusted and adjusted logistic regression was performed to compare awareness about HIV/AIDS, or Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), consumption of Iron Folic Acid (IFA) tablets and three meals in a day, safe menstrual hygiene practices, history of anemia, and open defecation practice among early and late adolescents. Data were reported as unadjusted and adjusted odds ratio (aOR) with a 95% confidence interval (95% CI). Among early adolescents, around 58% of girls and boys did not consume IFA tablets, and 28% of girls and 24% of boys defecated in the open. Compared to late adolescents, early adolescent girls had lower odds of awareness about HIV/AIDS (aOR (95% CI): 0.50 (0.47–0.54)) and open defecation (aOR (95% CI): 0.90 (0.83–0.98)) and higher odds of hand hygiene after defecation (aOR (95% CI): 1.52 (1.37–1.68)) and safe menstrual practices (aOR (95% CI): 1.42 (1.23–1.64)). There is a dire need to start public health interventions from early adolescence for long-term benefits throughout adolescence.
- Folkhälsovetenskap, global hälsa, socialmedicin och epidemiologi