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Assessment of body mass index-for-age status and child eating behaviour among preschool children (2-4years) in Igbo-Etiti Local Government Area, Enugu State, Nigeria

I. Okorie
V.U. Asumugha
A.C. Okorie


Background: Eating habits and inclinations to food are acquired in early childhood, representing behaviour traits that may change overtime. The preschool years are critically important period, however, it is accepted that family influences play a role in determining food intake patterns, eating behaviour, and childhood obesity.

Objective: The studyassessed the BMI-for-age and child eating behaviour among preschool children (2- 4years) in Igbo-Etiti LGA of Enugu state, Nigeria.

Methods: A simple random sampling by balloting without replacement was used to select 50% of 13 private schools in the study area. A total of 163 pupils (83 male and 80 female) in 7 private schools were recruited for the study. Data were collected using questionnaire, anthropometric  measurement was carried on the pupils and their eating behaviour was assessed using child eating behaviour questionnaire. Descriptive statistics were used to analyse categorical and continuous variables, Chi-square was used for child eating behaviour, WHO-Anthro software was used to analyse the BMI-for-age of the preschoolers, and regression analysis was used to evaluate the influence of child eating behaviour on the BMI-for-age of the preschoolers.

Results: The result revealed that 62% of the pupils had normal BMI-for-age, 26% were at risk of being overweight, and 25% were overweight, while 45% were obese. There was significant different (p < 0.05) between food responsiveness and BMI-for-age of the preschool children.

Conclusion: The rate of overweight and obesity seen in this study was high, however, this could be due to their response to food and/or obesigenic environment exposed to, thus, child eating behaviour play a role in weight gain and loss, and invariably may lead to overweight/obesity and wasting respectively.

Keywords: Body mass index-for-age, child eating behaviour, preschool children

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2805-4008
print ISSN: 0189-0913