Overweight, obesity and underweight profile among adolescent secondary school students in Uyo, South-South, Nigeria

  • S.B. Udoh
  • V Iyanam
Keywords: Overweight, Obesity, Adolescents, Secondary school, Students, Uyo


Background: Adolescent overweight and obesity has more than quadrupled in the last three decades. This has been shown to co-exist with under nutrition. Associated social burden of these nutrition-related disorders including effect on self esteem, body image and economic morbidity should be of concern if a healthy and productive future generation is to be ensured. Primary care providers should constantly assess adolescents for underweight, overweight/obesity risks to enhance early identification and prevention.

Objective: To assess the prevalence of underweight, overweight and obesity among adolescent secondary school students in Uyo, South-South Nigeria.

Method: A multistage-cluster sampling design was used to select participants from private and public secondary schools in Uyo metropolis.

Results: A total of 2257 participants were recruited into the study. This was made up of 576(25.5%) and 560(24.8%) females from public and private schools respectively and 548(24.3%) and 573(25.4%) males in similar distribution. The prevalence of overweight was 12.2% (67/548) and 13.2% (76/573) among the male students in public and private secondary schools respectively while 13.0% (75/576) and 13.6% (76/560) females were correspondingly overweight. Similarly, 3.7% (20/548) and 5.1% (29/573) male students as well as 4.0% (23/576) and 4.6% (26/560) female students in public and private schools respectively were obese. The overall prevalence of underweight was 43.4% while overweight/obesity was 17.4%). Identified risk factors for being either overweight or obesity included being from monogamous family (p=0.001), fathers/guardian's occupation (p=0.0001), number of siblings <4(p=0.0001) and being in senior secondary school level (p=0.03) while risk factors for underweight were having siblings >4(p=0.001), being having either semiskilled or unskilled parent (p=0.001) and being in early adolescence (p=0.001).

Conclusion: This study demonstrates the existence of the double burden of malnutrition among adolescents in the study area with more boys being under weight, and more girls being overweight and obese. The implication of this is that unless appropriate action is taken to prevent development of adolescent underweight, overweight / obesity and its health sequel, it may be difficult to have a healthy and productive future generation. This can be achieved through introduction of sustained weight maintaining activities and nutrition program among adolescents especially in private schools.

Keywords: Overweight; Obesity; Adolescents; Secondary school; Students; Uyo


Journal Identifiers

print ISSN: 2141-9884