Prevalence and factors associated with anthropometric failure, vitamin A and iron deficiency among adolescents in a Nigerian urban community

  • Rufina N.B. Ayogu
  • Ngozi M. Nnam
  • Onyinye Ibemesi
  • Franca Okechukwu
Keywords: School adolescents, anaemia, stunting, thinness, vitamin A deficiency


Background: Under nutrition is a problem of severe magnitude in low income countries like Nigeria. Adolescent school children might also be vulnerable. The dearth of data hinders planning of school health and nutrition programmes for school children.

Objective: To determine the prevalence of stunting, thinness; vitamin A and iron deficiencies among adolescent students in Nsukka urban, Nigeria and to determine factors that are associated with these nutritional problems.

Methods: A total of 400 participants were randomly selected from 717 students aged 12 – 18 years in 3 randomly selected secondary schools. Questionnaires, anthropometric measurements, and blood analyses were the data collection methods employed.

Results: The prevalence of stunting was 33.3% and thinness 31.0%. Neither overweight nor obesity was observed. While 64.0% were anaemic; 44.0% had vitamin A deficiency (VAD). A total of 48.0% had both anaemia and stunting, 42% had VAD + thinness; while 40% had anaemia + VAD. Household income was a predictor of vitamin A status. Children from medium/ high income households had higher odds of having VAD than those from low income households (AOR=0.14; 95% CI=0.031, 0.607; P=0.009). Household income (AOR=0.12; 95% CI=0.021, 0.671; P=0.016), and age (AOR=0.09; 95% CI=0.014, 0.587; P=0.012) were independent determinants of height-for-age status.

Conclusion: Among urban adolescent students in Nigeria, stunting, thinness, anaemia and VAD were problems of public health significance. Age and household monthly income played major roles.

Keywords: School adolescents, anaemia, stunting, thinness, vitamin A deficiency


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eISSN: 1680-6905