Pattern of BMI among adolescents in secondary schools in Kaduna, north-west Nigeria
Background: Adolescence has been identified as a priority for health monitoring. Adolescents constitute one-fifth of the world's population. According to the 2006 census in Nigeria, adolescents comprised 31.7% of the population. Underweight and obesity coexist in developing countries. Adolescent obesity is a global epidemic with major implications for healthcare now and in the future. Many chronic diseases in adulthood have their roots in adolescence. This study was carried out to determine the prevalence of adolescent underweight, overweight, and obesity thereby improving adolescent health.
Objective: The general objective was to determine the pattern of BMI among adolescents with a view of raising awareness and ultimately reducing the morbidities/mortalities associated with an abnormal BMI.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional school based study carried out in both public and private secondary schools in Kaduna South. Simple random sampling was used to select the schools and systematic sampling to recruit the participants. An interviewer administered questionnaire was used to collect the data. BMI was classified using the CDC gender- specific growth charts in percentiles.
Results: A total of 150 adolescents participated in the study. The mean age was 14.1 ± 2.3 years, and constituted 56.7% (85) girls and 43.3% (65) boys. The prevalence of underweight was 2.7%, overweight was 21.3% and obesity was 14.0%. Being a girl (x2 = 17.97, p=0.01) and increasing age (x2 =13.71, p=0.03) were significantly associated with the development of obesity. Thirty out of the fifty-three overweight/obese adolescents were in senior classes and this was significant x2 =8.75, p=0.03. All except one of the obese adolescents belonged to the upper socioeconomic group, though this was not statistically significant (x2 =10.48, p=0.57).
Conclusion: This study has shown that adolescent obesity is on the increase in this part of the world, in line with the global trend. There is the need for preventive measures to be adopted in order to curtail this menace thereby securing the future.
Keywords: Adolescents, secondary school, underweight, overweight, obesity, Kaduna