Prevalence and determinants of stunting among primary school children in rural and urban communities in Obafemi Owode Local Government Area, Southwestern Nigeria
Background: Studies on stunting in children have largely focused on the underfive, establishing it as a strong predictor of mortality in these children. Few studies have documented the prevalence or determinants of stunting among school children in southwestern Nigeria. The aim of the study was to determine the prevalence and predictors of stunting among selected primary school children in rural and urban communities of Obafemi Owode Local Government Area, Ogun State.
Methods: A cross-sectional study of rural and urban primary school children was conducted. An interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to collect information on respondents’ and parents’ socio-demographic characteristics. Stunting was defined as height-for-age less than two standard deviations from the median height-for-age of the standard World Health Organization reference population. Using EPI-INFO version 6.03, children were classified as stunted if zscores of height-for-age were less than 2 standard deviations below the National Centre for Health statistics (NCHS)/WHO median. Height and weight were taken using a stadiometer and weighing scale respectively. Data were analyzed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) Version 16.0 while predictors were determined using logistic regression at 95% level of significance.
Results: A total of 1,160 primary school children were studied with 52.2% from rural schools. Males constituted 57.1% and 51.8% in the rural and urban school respectively. Prevalence of stunting among rural school children was 46.2%, and was significantly higher (p<0.001) than among urban children at 33.8%. Younger children <10 years (OR: 0.088; 95CI: 0.052 - 0.150) and children between 11-12 years (OR: 0.534; 95CI: 0.322 - 0.886) were at a significantly lower risk of stunting both in rural schools compared to children >13 years.
Conclusion: The prevalence of stunting was high especially among pupils from schools in the rural communities. This underscores the need for urgent feasible and effective nutrition programs for primary school children especially those in rural schools within the study area.
Keywords: Stunting, School children, Undernutrition, Millennium development goals, Sustainable development goals