West African Journal of Medicine

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Changes in the Nutritional Status of School Children and Adolescents in Abeokuta, Nigeria between 1983 and 2006

IO Senbanjo, KA Oshikoya, OF Njokanma


BACKGROUND: The prevalence of overweight and obesity among children is increasing worldwide with significant health and social consequences.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to determine the current nutritional status and its changes between 1983 and 2006 among school children and adolescents in a South western Nigeria town.
METHODS: Five hundred and seventy children aged 5 to 19 years from randomly selected primary and secondary schools in Abeokuta, Nigeria had their weights and height measured using standard techniques. The data obtained were compared with data obtained from a similar cross sectional survey carried out in 1983. The National Centre for Health Statistics/World Health Organisation guidelines and cut-off points were used to determine the degree of underweight and stunting. Obesity prevalence was assessed using weight for age greater than 120 % of expected.
RESULTS: The mean age of the participants was 12.2 + 3.41 years, 296 (51.5 %) were males. The mean Weight-for-Age Z –score and Height-for-Age Z-score were -1.2773 + 1.14 and – 0.8569 + 1.19 respectively. The prevalence rates of underweight and stunting were 24.7 % and 17.4 % respectively. Using weight greater than 120 % of expected weight for age, five (1.7 %) male and 7 (2.6 %) female children were obese compared to 3.3 % male and 5.1 % female children who were obese in 1983.
CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of overweight and obesity has remained relatively unchanged between 1983 and 2006. However, under-nutrition remains a major nutritional problem among school children and adolescents in Abeokuta, Nigeria.

Keywords: Overweight, obesity, prevalence, c hildren, Nigeria

WAJM 2011; 30(6): 425–431.

AJOL African Journals Online