Nutritional Status of Semi-Urban Nigerian School Children using the 2007 WHO Reference Population

  • MB Fetuga
  • TA Ogunlesi
  • AF Adekanmbi
  • AD Alabi
Keywords: Malnutrition, Nigeria, Overweight, School children, Underweight, Stunting


Background: There is paucity of data on the nutritional status of school-age children in Sagamu town of Southwestern Nigeria.
Objective: To determine the nutritional status of primary school children in Sagamu Local Government Area, Nigeria.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey of primary school children aged 6 to 10 years in Sagamu, Southwestern Nigeria was done. Eight schools were selected using a multi-stage sampling technique. Children randomly selected proportionately from the schools were studied. The weightfor-age, height-for-age and BMI of these children were compared with the 2007 WHO reference values to diagnose underweight (WA < –2SD), stunting (HA < –2SD), thinness (BMI < –2SD), overweight (BMI > +1SD) and obesity (BMI > +2SD).
Results: A total of 1016 children comprising 479 (47.1%) boys and 537 (52.9%) girls were studied. The prevalence of malnutrition was 401(39.4%) and boys were more malnourished compared to girls (p = 0.002). The overall prevalences of underweight, stunting and thinness were 260(25.5%), 144(14.2%) and 226(22.2%) respectively. Overweight and obesity were present in 31(3.0%) and 5(0.5%) of the population studied respectively. Boys were significantly more often underweight and stunted.
Conclusion: The prevalence of under-nutrition among school children in Sagamu, Nigeria was high and the girls were generally better nourished than the boys. Efforts to reduce the burden of malnutrition in this population may include nutritional surveillance, food supplementation and free school meals.

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eISSN: 0189-160X