Orient Journal of Medicine

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Nutritional status of primary school children in Enugu, Nigeria using anthropometric measurements

Obianuju O. Igbokwe, Agozie C. Ubesie, Kenechukwu K. Iloh, Chris B. Eke, Ngozi S. Ibeziako, Anthony N. Ikefuna, Gilbert N. Adimora


Background: The survival and wellbeing of children is largely dependent on nutrition. Malnutrition in children can co-exist as under- and over-nutrition in the same population with varying attendant medical risks.

Objective: The aim of this study was to determine the nutritional status of primary school children in Enugu North LGA, using anthropometry.

Methodology: This was a cross sectional descriptive study involving primary school children aged 6-12years in Enugu. Subjects were selected using multistage sampling technique over a 3 month period. Weight and height were measured using a digital scale and a wooden stadiometer, respectively. Weight-for-age, Height- for -age and Body Mass Index-for-age z scores were then derived using the new WHO reference standards.

Results: Three hundred and forty eight (40.4%) children were recruited from public schools while 512 (59.6%) were recruited from private schools. The mean age of the study subjects was 9.18 ± 1.79 years. Seven (0.8%) children were stunted, 26 (3.3%) wasted and 28 (3.3%) underweight. Overweight and obesity were observed in 73 (8.5%) and 35 (4.1%) children, respectively. Under-nutrition was more prevalent in children aged 12 years (P= 0.001) whereas males were found to be more obese than females (P= 0.02).

Conclusion: There was a low prevalence of under nutrition. However, overweight and obesity appear to be emerging as nutritional problems.

Keywords: Nutrition, Obesity, Stunting, Underweight, Wasting, Anthropometry

AJOL African Journals Online