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Background: Under-nutrition remains high while overweight/obesity are on the rise in developing countries. Little is known about the differences in the prevalence of malnutrition among public and private primary school children in urban areas of Lagos, Nigeria. This study determined and compared the nutritional status of children in public and private primary schools in an urban area of Lagos, Nigeria.
Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted among public and private primary school children in an urban town in Lagos, Nigeria using multi-stage sampling technique to select 206 pupils. A structured interviewer administered questionnaire was used to obtain information on sociodemographic characteristics while anthropometric measures were obtained and compared to standards using WHO AnthroPlus, to determine the nutritional status.
Results: The prevalence of underweight (WAZ <-2SD) in the public primary schools, 6.8% (n=7) was higher than in the private schools, 1.9% (n=2) but the difference was not statistically significant. (p = 0.085). However, the higher prevalence of stunting (HAZ <-2SD) in public (20.4% (n=24) compared to private schools 3.9% (n=4) was statistically significant (P<0.000). The prevalence of overweight and obesity were significantly higher among respondents in private schools (8.7% and 4.9%) compared to those in public schools (0.0% and 1.0% ) (p=0.0003).
Conclusions: Stunting was higher in the public schools, while obesity and overweight were higher in the private schools. Appropriate feeding from birth should be promoted to prevent under-nutrition among children in public schools and overweight/obesity among children in private schools.
Keywords: Anthropometry; Children; Nutrition; Stunting