Overweight and obesity status of school adolescents in Portharcourt, southern Nigeria
Background: Adolescent overweight and obesity has been linked to obesity in adult life, with its associated risks of chronic diseases including cardiovascular diseases. Thus, prevention aimed at early screening and surveillance should be the key.The aim of this study is to determine the prevalence of overweight and obesity among schooling adolescents in Port Harcourt.
Materials and methods: A cross sectional study was carried out on 2,282 secondary school students aged 10–19 years, using a structured questionnaire to obtain data. Weights and height were measured using standard methods. The Body Mass Index (BMI) was calculated from their weights and heights in kg/m.2 The nutritional status of the students was determined using the BMI percentile charts for age and gender as recommended by the World Health Organisation in 2007.
Results: The prevalence of overweight and obesity were 13.2% and 4.6%.The female subjects had a higher prevalence of overweight and obesity (14.6% and 5.2%) than the males (11.4% and 3.8%) and this difference was statistically significant (P = 0.041).
Conclusion: The prevalence of overweight and obese adolescents in Port Harcourt is high.We recommend that health education with emphasis on lifestyle changes and behavioral modification that will promote healthy eating and regular physical activities be inculcated into the curriculum of secondary schools in Nigeria.