Malnutrition and Common Diseases in Adolescent Girls in Rural Farming Community of Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area, Imo State, Nigeria
AbstractObjective: The study determined the prevalence of malnutrition and its relationship with the identified common diseases among adolescent girls in rural farming community in Imo state, Nigeria. Subjects and methods: The study was conducted in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State Nigeria with 283 randomly selected adolescent girls from 229 households. Anthropometric measurements and clinical methods were used to determine prevalence of malnutrition using the National Centre of Health Statistics (NCHS) reference and percentages, respectively. Blood and stool samples of the adolescent girls were collected and analyzed using stained and wet mounts, respectively for malaria parasites, haemoglobin and for worm infestation. Questionnaire method was used for identification of the intestinal infections and respiratory diseases. Results: Malaria was the most prevalent disease (43.5%) among the adolescent girls, followed by upper respiratory tract (catarrh) 28.3%, typhoid 25.4%, roundworm 14.1% and hookworm 43.4% in that order. The greatest deficit in the means of the anthropometric indicators for all the girls expressed in terms of standard deviation (Z-score) below median National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) reference was in height for age (Z-score –1.98), followed by weight for age (–1.92), and weight for height (–1.77). About 48.4%were stunted, 38.2% underweight, 27.3% wasted and 47.3% anaemic. Weight faltering and weight loss were apparent after infectious disease was detected. There was a negative correlation between haemoglobin levels and the intensity of hookworm infestation indicated by the eggs/gram faeces. The combined impact of disease and malnutrition may lead to stunted growth, underweight which may result to retardation in mental and physical development. Conclusion: Nutrition and health programme specifically targeted to the poor girls and most disadvantage children would demonstrate positive impact in combating malnutrition and disease among adolescent girls. It is suggested that programmes aimed at combating malnutrition should include deworming and health education. Key words: Adolescent girls, worm infestation, hemoglobin, anthropometry, farming community,Nigeria
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