Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality globally, with the burden largely borne by people living in low- and middle-income countries. Adolescents are central to NCD control through the potential to modify risks and alter the trajectory of these diseases across the life-course. However, an absence of epidemiological data has contributed to the relative exclusion of adolescents from policies and responses. This paper documents the design of a study to measure the burden of metabolic syndrome (a key risk for NCDs) and poor mental health (a key outcome) amongst Indonesian adolescents. Using a mixed-method design, we sampled 16-18-year-old adolescents from schools and community-based settings across Jakarta and South Sulawesi. Initial formative qualitative enquiry used focus group discussions to understand how young people conceptualise mental health and body weight (separately); what they perceive as determinants of these NCDs; and what responses to these NCDs should involve. These findings informed the design of a quantitative survey that adolescents self-completed electronically. Mental health was measured using the Centre for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale-Revised (CESD-R) and Kessler-10 (both validated against formal psychiatric interview in a subsample), with the metabolic syndrome measured using biomarkers and anthropometry. The survey also included scales relating to victimisation, connectedness, self-efficacy, body image and quality of life. Adolescents were sampled from schools using a multistage cluster design, and from the community using respondent-driven sampling (RDS). This study will substantially advance the field of NCD measurement amongst adolescents, especially in settings like Indonesia. It demonstrates that high quality, objective measurement is acceptable and feasible, including the collection of biomarkers in a school-based setting. It demonstrates how comparable data can be collected across both in-school and out of school adolescents, allowing a more comprehensive measure of NCD burden, risk and correlates.
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