Assessment of Nutritional Status and Knowledge of Students from Selected Secondary Schools in Sokoto Metropolis, Sokoto State, Nigeria
The significance of improving nutrition knowledge in order to have a positive influence on food choices and health should not be underestimated. This study assessed the nutritional status and knowledge of school children attending selected secondary schools in Sokoto metropolis. The study population was purposively drawn from secondary school students in Nigeria attending Federal Government College and State Government-owned schools. Four secondary schools were used for the study: Federal Government College (FGC), Sani Dingyadi Secondary School (SDUSS), Nagarta Secondary School (NSS) and Army Day Secondary School (ADSS). A sample of 240 school students, aged 10 to 25 years participated in the study. The measuring instruments included a questionnaire to determine the nutrition knowledge of the students. Anthropometric measurements included weight, height and mid-upper arm circumference, measured using standard methodologies. The mean age recorded for male and female students were 18.0±1.90 and 15.7±1.20 years, respectively. The result showed that 27.9% were underweight, 7.5% overweight and 64.6% had normal BMI status. Nutritional status was significantly related with sex (χ2 = 16.169, p<0.05) but not with age (χ2 = 1.368, p>0.05). The prevalence of underweight was higher among the males (33.9%) compared to the females (13.9%), while more females were overweight (15.3%) compared to the males (4.2%). Seventy one percent performed poorly in the nutrition knowledge assessment rating. The overall performance of the female students was significantly higher (χ2 = 46.386; P<0.05) than their male counterparts. Furthermore, 5, 12 and 12% had excellent, very good and good nutrition knowledge, respectively, while 33% and 38% had fair and poor nutrition knowledge, respectively. The results further revealed that the students were deficient in knowledge and understanding of the facts about energy and nutritive values of foods. Therefore, adequate nutrition education is needed at the secondary school level; this will enable the students to make good food choices and positively influence their eating habits thereby ensuring better nutritional status.
Keywords: malnutrition, knowledge, school, anthropometry, Sokoto