Pan African Medical Journal

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Socio-demographic factors associated with underweight and stunting among adolescents in Ethiopia

H Assefa, T Belachew, L Negash


Introduction: nutrition during adolescence plays an important role in the individual’s life. There are different factors that affect nutritional status of adolescents. Socio Economic Status, age, sex and mothers’ educational level are among the important determinants factors of nutritional status of adolescents. Younger adolescents tend to be more undernourished than older adolescents, and, contrary to expectations that boys are almost twice as undernourished as girls. In this study, we test the competing hypothesis about the correlates of nutritional status among Ethiopian adolescents.


Methods: we report a total of 2084 adolescents from the second round of a 5-year longitudinal study in Jimma zone, southwest Ethiopia. Univariate and Multivariable linear regression were used to assess socio-demographic factors associated with Underweight and Stunting among Adolescents in Jimma zone.


Results: age, highest grade completed, job and last attended in community school were positively associated with BMI for Age z-score and highest grade completed, household income and job were positively associated with Height for Age z-score. However, male gender was negatively associated with BMI for Age z-score and male gender, last attended in community school, abdominal pain and household size were negatively associated with Height for Age z-score.


Conclusion: age of the adolescents, gender, educational status, employment status and type of last school attended are associated with underweight; and gender, place of residence, household size, household income, educational status, employment status, type of last school attended and abdominal pain are associated with stunted. The findings reflect socio-demographic characteristics are associated with underweight and stunting.
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