Rural-urban disparity in lung function parameters of Nigerian children: effects of socio-economic, nutritional and housing factors
Introduction: The effect of socio-demographic and nutritional factors on lung functions of African children is poorly studied. This study set out to determine the effects of these factors on lung functions of Nigerian school children.
Methods: Rural and urban secondary schools students in Ilesa, Nigeria were selected by multistage sampling. The socio-demographic, nutritional status as well as lung function parameters measured using incentive Spirometry (MIR Spirolab III srl, Italy) of the children were obtained and compared among the rural and urban children.
Results: A total of 250 children (128 rural and 122 urban) aged 9 to 17 years participated in the study over a 12 month period. Mean (SD) age was 12.6 (1.9) years and Male: Female 1:1.1. The urban children were heavier, taller and have larger lung volumes than their age and sex matched rural counterpart. Stunted rural males [Mean (SD) FVC 1.8 (0.3) L vs. 2.2 (0.6) L t-test = 2.360; p = 0.022], underweight females [Mean (SD) FVC 1.8 (0.4) L vs. 2.2 (0.6) L; t-test = 2.855; p = 0.006] and those exposed to unclean fuel [Mean (SD) FVC 2.1 (0.6) L vs. 2.4 (0.5) L; t-test = 2.079; p = 0.041] had significantly lower lung volumes compared to their counterparts without these conditions.
Conclusion: Undernutrition, low socioeconomic class and use of unclean fuels adversely affect the lung functions of Nigerian children. Improved standard of living, use of clean fuel and adequate nutrition may ensure better lung health among these children.
Keywords: Lung function test, nutritional status, anthropometrics, urban, rural, school children