Menarcheal age and nutritional status among school girls' in Port Harcourt southern Nigeria.
Background: Menarche is a significant indicator of maturity and puberty in adolescent girls. There has been a decline in menarcheal ago over the years with many factors including nutrition having an influence on it. The aim of this study is to determine the age at menarche and its relationship with anthropometric measurements among Secondary School girls' in Port Harcourt.
Subjects and Methods: A cross sectional study was carried out on 864 secondary school girls' aged 10 - 20 years, using a structured questionnaire to obtain data on their age at menarche. Weights and height were measured using standard methods. The Body Mass Index (BMI) was calculated from their weights and heights in kg/m2 The relationship between age at menarche and anthropometric measurements were ascertained.
Results: Seven hundred and eighty four(90.7%) of the subjects were post menarcheal, while 80 (9.3%) were pre menarcheal. The mean age at menarche was 12,45 ±1.24 years. There was a significant relationship between menarcheal age and nutritional status in these adolescents.
Key words: Menarche,Adolescents, Nutritional status, Nigeria.