Overweight and Obesity among In-school Adolescents in Ondo State, Southwest Nigeria
Over-weight and obesity are reported to be increasing worldwide and currently constituting a public health problem. The consequences of these include hypertension, diabetes mellitus, hyper-lipidaemia, coronary artery diseases and some cancers. The reports from several regions of the world concerning overweight/obesity among adolescents are not consistent. In Nigeria there is no current national figure on overweight/obesity in the adult or adolescents. The objective of this study was to assess the spread of overweight/obesity in Ondo state of Nigeria. This study was descriptive, cross-sectional in design. Six local government areas (LGA) were selected from the 18 LGA in the state. Twelve secondary schools were selected from the six LGA. Weight and height of each of the students were measured using standard techniques. Body mass index for age (BMI/A) was derived using the WHO-Anthro-Plus, data on age, sex, residence, family size, level of education and occupation of parents were obtained using a pre-tested, semi-structured questionnaire. Data were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistical data analysis at p=0.05. A total of 2031 (1126 males and 905 females), students participated in this study. Mean (SD) age was 14.28 (2.07) yr, height was 155.87 (10.63) cm, weight was 46.34 (9.65) kg. Using BMI/A, 332 (16.3%) were underweight, 117 (5.8%) were overweight, 23 (1.1%) were obese and 1559 (76.8%) were in the normal range. Underweight was 224 (16.47%) in the urban and 108 (16.09%) in the rural. Overweight was 64 (4.70%) in the urban and 53 (7.90%) in the rural while obesity was 0.96% in the urban and 1.49% in the rural. Underweight was more (18.65%) in the males than females (13.48%), so also obesity (1.24% males, 1.0% females), however overweight was 7.40% in females and 4.44% in males (p<0.05). In conclusion, whereas overweight/obesity prevalence is low, and of no public health importance in this study, underweight prevalence is significant, therefore merits intervention as this represents the last phase of growth. While underweight is equally distributed in both urban and rural, overweight is more in the rural sector. Underweight and obese were more in the males; overweight was more among the females. This pattern suggests a need for health and nutrition education among the adolescents.
Keywords: Adolescents, overweight, obesity, rural/urban