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Adolescent malnutrition: Prevalence and pattern in Abuja Municipal Area Council, Nigeria

AA Abdulkarim
AT Otuneye
P Ahmed
DR Shattima


Objective: To determine the prevalence and pattern of malnutrition among adolescents in senior secondary schools in The Abuja Municipal area council
Methods: Study design: this is a cross-sectional study conducted among adolescents (10-19 years) in secondary schools. A multistage sampling technique was employed to select a total of 1700 students from classes in selected schools. All schools in the Abuja Municipal Area council (AMAC) were stratified into urban and rural schools. Eight schools were selected by balloting from a list of schools obtained from the Education centre. A school was selected from each of the four major districts of AMAC and four schools were selected from the rural making a total of 8 schools. Although the consent of the school authorities was obtained, individual subject also consented to the study before being enrolled. The study excluded those adolescents who were physically challenged thus limiting physical activity. Information was obtained via the use of questionnaires that were administered by trained personnel. Subject’s height and weight was taken using the floor-type height (H) and weight (W) measuring scale model ZT-120 using Massachusetts department of public health protocol. The nutritional status was determined using the formula: BMI= W/H2 , where W =weight (in kilograms) and H= height (in meters). The age and sex specific height and BMI percentile for each subject was determined using the 2007 WHO Height and BMI growth charts for age 5-19years. The students were then classified into one of the following categories using previously used standards: normal, stunted, wasted, overweight or obese. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 17 statistical package.
Results: The mean age was 14.43±1.94 years; male 688, female 862, M:F ratio 1.1.3. Mean BMI, weight and height were 20.31±3.07kg/m2, 51.07± 10.80 kg, and 157.88±9.33 cm. The prevalence of wasting, stunting, overweight and obesity was documented as 1.7% (27/1550), 11.3% (175/1550), 13.2% (205/1550), and 2.6% (41/1550) respectively. Those in urban schools had higher mean BMI (20.91±3.22 kg/m2 versus 19.71±2.78 kg/m2) and height (160.41±9.14 cm versus 155.32±8.81 cm) and p values <0.05.
Conclusion: There is a double burden of over-nutrition (overweight and obesity) and under-nutrition (stunting and wasting) among adolescents in Nigeria.

Key words: Adolescent, malnutrition, school population