Non-communicable disease risk factors and mental health status among school students in nepal: a mixed-method study
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Nepal Public Health Association Lalitpur, Nepal Nepal
Institute of Medicine, Tribhuvan University Nepal
Nobel College, Pokhara University, Nepal Nepal
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1512
Background and objective:
This study aimed to determine the prevalence of behavioral risk factors of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and mental health problems among school students. Perception of stakeholders regarding contributing factors and strategies to reduce the burden of NCDs and mental health problems was also explored.

This study used explanatory sequential research method which included school-based survey with 415 higher secondary school students, four focus group discussions with students, and seven in-depth interviews with community stakeholders. The study was conducted in Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal in between February-April 2021. Data collection tools included the WHO STEPS survey, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Insomnia Severity and Young’s Internet Addiction Test. Both descriptive and inferential analysis was conducted for quantitative data while thematic analysis using deductive approach was done for qualitative data.

The proportion of current alcohol users and tobacco users was 8% (10.8%-male and 4.7% -female) and 7.2% (11.7%-male and 2.1%-female) respectively. Fifty-seven percent students consumed fruits and vegetables less than five servings per day and 32.5% were physically active. Overall, 41%, 62.7%, 47.5%, and 48.2% had symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and internet addiction, respectively. The stakeholders suggested strict implementation of tobacco and alcohol control regulations, subsidy on the price of fruits and vegetables, restricting junk foods, and establishment of parks and open spaces for promoting the physical activity to curb NCD risk factors. Similarly, interventions focusing on creating a safe space for sharing mental problems and ensuring the availability of mental health services at the community level was also sought.

This study found a considerable proportion of students with NCD risk factors and mental health problems. Policy makers and programmatic managers need to focus on both behavioral and environmental interventions for promoting physical and mental health of young people in Nepal.

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