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Determinants of childhood obesity among basic school children aged 6 – 12 years in Tamale Metropolis

N Amidu
WKBA Owiredu
M Saaka
L Quaye
M Wanwan
PD Kumibea
FM Zingina
V Mogre


This study was conducted to assess the prevalence of childhood overweight/obesity and its associ-ation with type of school (private vs. public), parental education and other lifestyle factors among school-aged children (6–12 years) in the Tamale Metropolis. This cross-sectional school-based study was conducted from November 2012 to June 2013 in the Tamale Metropolis of Ghana. Using multi-stage random sampling, 400 children aged 6-12 years were selected from 4 schools. Anthro-pometric measurements of age, height and weight were measured with appropriate tools. Cut-off points for BMI defining obese and overweight for gender and age were calculated in accordance with the CDC growth charts. Percentage body fat (%BF) of the studied children was also calculat-ed using appropriate formulas. The prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity were 9.8% and 7.5% respectively. Significantly, obese children were more likely to have parents who had attained high educational level compared to normal weight children (83.3% vs. 46.8%). As 76.7% of obese children went to school by means car/motor bike, 64.4% of normal weight children went to school by means of walking/riding a bicycle. A significant proportion of overweight and obese children compared to normal weight children played computer games, took food to school and ate food at the school’s canteen. The prevalence of overweight (15.0% vs. 4.5% p= 0.0006) and obesity (12.5% vs. 2.5%, p=0.0002) as determined by BMI was higher in children from the private schools than children from the public schools. By %BF more children in the private schools than in the public schools were obese (14.5% vs. 3.0%, p<0.0001). High prevalence of obesity/overweight was associ-ated with attending a private school, high level of parental education, playing computer/video games and eating food at the school canteen.

Keywords: Adiposity, BMI, children, physical activity, educational level, Tamale, Ghana