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Are risk factors for non-communicable diseases in adolescents a problem in senior high schools in Accra?

Delia A. Bandoh
Gifty Sunkwa-Mills
Ernest Kenu


Background: We assessed risk factors of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) among adolescents in a senior high school
Design: We conducted a cross-sectional study in 2016
Setting: Senior High School in Accra
Participants: Adolescents in senior high school
Interventions: Adolescents were interviewed with a structured questionnaire designed using the WHO STEPS framework. Data on tobacco use, alcohol consumption, physical activity and physical measurements of respondents were taken.
Main outcome measures: risk factors of noncommunicable diseases among adolescents
Results: A total of 360 adolescents in the school were assessed. Mean age was (17±1.21) years with minimum age being 13 and maximum 19 years. Females were 51% (184/360). About 75% (271/360) reported low physical activity, 15% (55/360) were overweight or obese (95%CI: 0.0317-0.078), 7.0% (25/360) consumed alcohol (95%CI: 0.054-0.111) and 2.5% (9/360) smoked tobacco (95%CI: 0.013- 0.048). Majority of the respondents (346/360) were exposed or at risk of developing at least one risk factor. However, no one was found to be at risk of all five risk factors assessed. Females were three times more likely to be overweight or obese compared to their male counterparts (OR:3,95%CI:1.581-5.624)
Conclusion: We found that majority of the children had low physical activity and more than 90% of the respondents had at least one NCD risk factor.
Keywords: noncommunicable diseases, risk factors, physical activity, tobacco use, consumption of alcohol
Funding: This work was funded by the authors