Adolescents‘ undernutrition and its determinants among in-school communities of Ambo Town, West Oromia, Ethiopia

  • T Alemayehu
  • J Haidar
  • D Habte


Background: Adolescence is the most important period of life where growth and development are accompanied by various physical, physiological, behavioral, and social changes leading to increased demand for nutrients which could pose a greater risk of malnutrition.
Objectives: To assess the magnitude of adolescents‘ undernutrition and its determinants in public schools of Ambo town.
Methods: A cross-sectional study design with analytical component was conducted between March 20 and April 10, 2008. A total of 425 in-school adolescents were assessed for their nutritional status. Weight, height and other important socio-demographic and dietary information were taken using pre-tested questionnaire. Body Mass Index (BMI) was computed and compared to the reference standards.
Results: The overall prevalence of underweight and overweight was 27.5% and 4.3% respectively. The proportion of underweight was higher in males (29.8%) than females (24.6%) while overweight were higher in females (4.9%) than males (3.8%). However, the difference noted was not significant (P =0.4). Underweight was significantly higher in early (38.1%) than late (18.6%) adolescent (p=0.001). The most important predictors identified for underweight were adolescent‘s age, menarche onset, food source for consumption and family possession of cattle (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Underweight in the in-school adolescents is prevalent. To help adolescents build better futures with more civic education and life skills, an integrated nutrition and health related services that meet the needs of adolescents in the school community is recommended..

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eISSN: 0856-8960