oa South African Family Practice - Assessment of nutritional status of in-school adolescents in Ibadan, Nigeria : research



Adolescents are tomorrow's adult population, hence their health and well-being are crucial. The objective of this study was to determine the nutritional status of in-school adolescents in Ibadan, south-western Nigeria.

A descriptive cross-sectional survey was conducted on 93 in-school adolescents attending a diabetes mellitus sensitisation and education programme, selected by simple random sampling (the ballot method) using a self-administered, semi-structured questionnaire. Anthropometric measurements were carried out on the subjects by trained researchers. Data were analysed using SPSS® software, version 17.
Study subjects comprised 29 males (31.2%) and 64 females (68.8), with an overall mean age of 15.67 (± 1.25) years. All of them were in senior grades of their secondary education. Approximately 90% of respondents' parents had attained at least secondary education. The television was the most popular source of health information for the study subjects (33.3%). Nearly a third of them were underweight (body mass index (BMI) < 18.5 kg/m2)) and 7.6% of them were overweight or obese (BMI ≥ 25 kg/m2). However, the prevalence of underweight was higher in the male respondents than in their female counterparts (41.4% vs. 23.4%, respectively). Statistically significant differences were also observed when the mean BMI and mean BMI percentiles for age and sex were compared ( < 0.05 in both instances).
The study showed that malnutrition, and especially undernutrition, is still a problem in adolescents, with a higher prevalence in boys. Nutrition education in schools, and special programmes like the one attended by the study subjects, would help considerably in improving the health and well-being of the nation's adolescents; tomorrow's adult population.


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