Effectiveness of a school-based pilot program on ‘diabesity’ knowledge scores among adolescents in Chennai, South India

  • T. S. Mehreen
  • N. Jagannathan
  • D. Pandiyan
  • Ranjit Mohan Anjana
  • Viswanathan Mohan
  • Harish RanjaniEmail author
Original Article



India has the 2nd largest number of children and adolescents living with diabetes in the world. Hence, the present study aimed to evaluate the knowledge on diabetes and obesity among school going adolescents in Chennai, south India.


Study participants were 3505 adolescents belonging to sixth and seventh grades of select private and government schools in Chennai. A school-based intervention consisting of five classroom activities were delivered to the intervention group participants. Teachers and peer leaders from intervention schools played a key role in program delivery. The control group received a one-time standard training program on diabesity. A self-administered questionnaire was used for the assessment of knowledge levels at baseline and follow-up. Overall, 3,263 students completed the program (response rate 93.1%).


Mean age of the study participants was 11.1±0.8 years. The intervention group had a significant improvement in knowledge score with the overall mean score improving from 11.51 at baseline to 12.25 at follow-up (p<0.001). The mean composite score was higher in boys, compared to girls in both intervention (12.38 vs 12.08) and control (11.30 vs 10.99) groups. Participants in the intervention group were 1.31 (95%CI: 1.12-1.52 p value: <0.001) times more likely to have a good knowledge score about diabesity, compared to the control group.


School-based interventions are a successful way of reaching out to a large number of adolescents in order to increase awareness about diabetes and obesity.


Knowledge Diabetes Obesity Adolescents School-based intervention 



The authors gratefully acknowledge Arogya World Inc., USA, and Bengaluru for the lesson plans offered for the intervention. We would like to thank the team from the Translational Research Department and Ms. Mridula Ayush Bhargava for the successful implementation of this project.

Author’s contributions

T.S.M. analysed the data, wrote the first draft and carried out corrections in all the consecutive drafts of the manuscript. H.R conceived and coordinated the study and helped in data analyses and revisions of the manuscript. RMA and VM contributed to critical revisions of the manuscript for intellectual content. T.S.M., N.J. and D.P performed the data collection. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

Written informed consent from class teachers and assent from study participants were obtained prior to the study. This study was approved by the Institutional Ethics Committee of the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation (MDRF) with Registration no. ECR/194/Inst./TN/2013 with Clinical Trials Registry-India (CTRI) ID number CTRI/2016/09/007323.


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Copyright information

© Research Society for Study of Diabetes in India 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Translational Research, Madras Diabetes Research Foundation & Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre, WHO Collaborating Centre for Non Communicable Diseases Prevention & ControlIDF Centre for EducationChennaiIndia
  2. 2.Department of Diabetology, Madras Diabetes Research Foundation & Dr. Mohan’s Diabetes Specialities Centre, WHO Collaborating Centre for Non Communicable Diseases Prevention & ControlIDF Centre for EducationChennaiIndia

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