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Minerva Pediatrica 2011 December;63(6):467-71


language: English

Prevalence of body weight disorders among adolescent school girls in Tarka, Nigeria

Goon D. T. 1, Toriola A. L. 1, Uever J. N. 2, Wuam S. 3, Toriola O. M. 4

1 Centre for Biokinetics, Recreation and Sport Science, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa; 2 Department of Sports, Rehabilitation and Dental Sciences, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa; 3 Department of Human Kinetics and Health Education, Benue State University, Makurdi, Nigeria; 4 Department of Physical and Health Education, College of Education, Katsina-Ala, Nigeria; 5 Department of Primary Education, (Physical Education Unit), University of Swaziland, Kwaluseni, Swaziland


AIM:The prevalence of overweight and obesity is increasing worldwide, both in developing and developed countries, and childhood obesity is a serious public health problem. However, there are few studies on prevalence of obesity on Nigerian adolescents in a rural community. Therefore, the aim of this cross-sectional study was to determine the prevalence of overweight and obesity among 722 secondary school female students aged 12-18 years living in Wannune, Tarka, Nigeria.
METHODS: Participants were selected by purposive sampling from five schools. Anthropometric measurements of height and weight were measured and body mass index (BMI) calculated. The centres for disease control and prevention (CDC) BMI cut-off points were used to generate four BMI categories as follows: BMI <5th percentile, “underweight’; BMI ≥5th to <85th percentile, “normal weight”; BMI ≥85th to <95th percentile, “at-risk-of-overweight”; and BMI ≥ 95th percentile, “overweight and obese”.
RESULTS:Findings indicated that 70.1% of the participants had a normal BMI, 7.5% were overweight/obese while 12.5% at risk of overweight and 9.9% were underweight. The levels of obesity, overweight and underweight observed in our sample is quite higher, and indicates overweight and obesity is even occurring in Nigerian adolescents in a rural settings.
CONCLUSION: Given that over-nutrition and under-nutrition are noticeable among adolescents’ school girls in Tarka, suggests that policy makers and health professionals should design and implement strategies to prevent body weight disorders in children.

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