Pan African Medical Journal

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Socio-demographic determinants of malnutrition among primary school aged children in Enugu, Nigeria

Obianuju Igbokwe, Gilbert Adimorah, Anthony Ikefuna, Ngozi Ibeziako, Agozie Ubesie, Christopher Ekeh, Kenechukwu Iloh


Introduction: Several factors including the parental literacy, illness, socioeconomic status, poor sanitation and hygienic practices affect the physical growth of children. The aim of this study was to determine the socio-demographic determinants of malnutrition among primary school aged children in Enugu, Nigeria.

Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study involving primary school children in Enugu was carried out over a 3 month period. Subjects were selected using multistage sampling technique. Weight and height were measured using a digital scale and a wooden stadiometer, respectively. Body Mass Index (BMI), weight-for-age (WAZ), Height-for-age (HAZ) and BMI-for-age z scores were then derived using the new WHO reference standards.

Results: 348 children (40.4%) were recruited from 5 public schools while 512 (59.6%) were recruited from 9 private schools. The mean age of the study participants was 9.2 ± 1.8 years. 7 (0.8%) children were stunted, 26 (3.3%) wasted and 28 (3.3%) underweight. Of all the study participants, overweight and obesity were observed in 73 (8.5%) and 35 (4.1%) children, respectively. Children of lower socioeconomic class were more stunted, underweight and wasted, while overweight and obesity were more prevalent among children from the upper socioeconomic class.

Conclusion: Factors such as age and sex, parental education and socioeconomic class had a significant impact on nutritional status. Overweight and obesity were more prevalent among the children from the upper socioeconomic class, attending private schools, while stunting and wasting were more in children of the lower class attending public schools.

Keywords: Socio-demographic, malnutrition, school-age, children, Enugu
AJOL African Journals Online