Prevalence of overweight and obesity among students in private and public secondary schools in a peri-urban Nigerian town

Abah S O, Aigbiremolen A O, Duru CB, Awunor NS, Asogun AD, Enahoro FO, Akpede ME


Aims: To investigate the prevalence of overweight and obesity among secondary school students in Ekpoma.Study design: Cross sectional studyPlace and duration of the study: Private and public secondary schools in Ekpoma Edo state; from May to October,2011.Methodology: This is a school based analytical cross-sectional study of a sample of 417 students drawn from 4secondary schools in Ekpoma using the multistage sampling technique. Semi-structured interviewer-administeredquestionnaires were used to obtain qualitative information from the respondents; the weight of each respondent wasmeasured using a bathroom scale and the Body Mass Index (BMI) calculated and classified based on the AmericanMedical Association classification. The results obtained for students in private schools where then compared withthose of their peers in public secondary schools.Results: The prevalence of overweight and obesity was found to be 8.6% and 1% respectively; the mean BMI was19.6±2.6. More (67.5%) of those found to be overweight and obese were students in private schools (95% CI = 1.03-4.39 OR=2.11; ?2= 4.85). Similarly, 11.59% and 1.45% of students in private schools were overweight and obeserespectively compared to 5.71% and 0.95% for those in public schools. Majority (68%) of respondents had poorknowledge of the risk factors for and problems associated with being overweight or obese. Students in the uppersocial class are more likely to be overweight/obese compared to their peers in the lower social class((X 2HM = 10.35;P <.01; common odds ratio = 3)CONCLUSION: Over nutrition and under nutrition are both occurring in adolescents in a predominantly ruralsetting which suggests that Policy makers and health professionals need to implement strategies that will preventover nutrition side by side current efforts to curb under- nutrition. Reactivation of the school health program inNigeria is considered a helpful initial step.

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