Prevalence of Helminthic Infection and its association with the Nutritional Status of Rural Primary School Children in Osun State, Nigeria

Adeleye Adeomi, Oluwatosin Adeoye, Adedayo Sabageh, Olaitan Adeomi, Donatus Sabageh


Helminthic infection, which has been reported to be highly prevalent in Nigeria, has also been reported to contribute to the high prevalence of malnutrition. This study therefore aimed to find the prevalence of helminthic infection and its association with the nutritional status of rural primary school children in Osun State, Nigeria. Respondents were selected from rural communities in Osun State using multi-stage sampling technique. The stool samples of the children were collected and analysed for the presence of ova of intestinal parasites. Information from respondents was obtained using pre-tested semi-structured questionnaires and their weights and heights were measured and used to calculate their Body Mass Index (BMI). Of the 245 respondents, 112 (45.7%) were 6 to 9 years of age, and others (133, 54.3%) were 10 to 12 years of age with a mean age of 9.31 ± 1.97 years. Using the World Health Organization growth reference for school-age children, 106 (43.3%) of the respondents were underweight, 139 (56.7%) were of normal weight and none were neither overweight nor obese. After the stool analysis, 75 (30.6%) had helminthic infection as evidenced by the presence of ova of intestinal parasites in their stool, while the others (170, 69.4%) had no evidence of helminthic infection. There was a statistically significant relationship between helminthic infection and the nutritional status of the respondents, their age groups, school types, fathers’ occupation, mothers’ occupation and their family settings. The prevalence of intestinal helminthic infection in this study (30.6%) was high and children with helminthic infections were more likely to be underweight.. There is the need for regular de-worming of school-age children, especially those living in the rural communities.

Keywords: School-Age; Children; Rural; Helminthic infection; Nutritional Status

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