Subscribe Now Subscribe Today
Research Article

Physical Growth and Nutritional Status of a Cohort of Semi-Urban Nigerian Adolescents

E.C.C. Chukwunonso Ejike, E. Chidi Ugwu and U.S. Lawrence Ezeanyika
Facebook Twitter Digg Reddit Linkedin StumbleUpon E-mail

The nutritional transition in developing countries may lead to imbalances in the growth and nutritional status of adolescents in such countries - events that could result in improper maturation and morbidity in adult life. This study seeks to determine the patterns of physical growth and nutritional status of adolescents living in a low income semi-urban town in Nigeria. Anthropometric data from six hundred and twenty five (625) secondary school students aged 10-19 years (adolescents) were collected and their Body Mass Index (BMI) calculated. Their heights and weights were compared to those of a reference population. Outcome measures for nutritional status were proportion of the population that is stunted (height-for-age < 3rd percentile of the reference data), thin and overweight/obese (BMI-for-age < 5th and > 85th percentiles of the reference data respectively). The girls matched the heights of half of the reference population at all ages, but the boys did not. From age fourteen years, the boys weighed less than half of the reference population while the girls matched or weighed more than the reference population. Under-nutrition was found to affect 19.36% of the population (with stunting accounting for 84.47% of this group), while 13.12% of the population were overweight/obese. The prevalence of thinness and stunting were higher in boys than in girls. Boys were also slightly more obese than the girls. Under- and over-nutrition co-exist in the population and affect more boys than girls. There is an urgent need to address these problems in preventive and curative health care programmes.

Related Articles in ASCI
Similar Articles in this Journal
Search in Google Scholar
View Citation
Report Citation

  How to cite this article:

E.C.C. Chukwunonso Ejike, E. Chidi Ugwu and U.S. Lawrence Ezeanyika, 2010. Physical Growth and Nutritional Status of a Cohort of Semi-Urban Nigerian Adolescents. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition, 9: 392-397.

DOI: 10.3923/pjn.2010.392.397


1:  Agarwal, K.N., D.K. Agarwal and S.K. Upadhydal, 1995. Impact of chronic undernutrition on higher mental function in boys aged 1-12 years. Acta Peadiatr., 84: 1357-1361.

2:  Begin, F., E.A. Frongillo Jr. and H. Delisle, 1999. Caregiver behaviours and resources influence child height-for-age in rural Chad. J. Nutr., 129: 680-686.
Direct Link  |  

3:  Blum, R.W., 1995. Global trends in adolescent health. J. Am. Med. Assoc., 265: 2711-2719.
PubMed  |  Direct Link  |  

4:  Cole, T.J. and J.M. Parkin, 1977. Infection and its effect on growth of young children: A comparison of the Gambia and Uganda. Trans. R Soc. Trop. Med. Hyg., 71: 196-198.
PubMed  |  Direct Link  |  

5:  Dietz, W.H., 1994. Critical periods in childhood for the development of obesity. Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 59: 955-959.
Direct Link  |  

6:  Din, Z.U. and P.I. Paracha, 2003. Assessment of nutritional status of adolescent boys from public and private schools of Peshawar. Pak. J. Med. Res., 42: 129-133.
Direct Link  |  

7:  Espo, M., T. Kulmala, K. Maleta, T. Cullinan, M.L. Salin and P. Ashon, 2002. Determinants of linear growth and predictors of severe stunting during infancy in rural Malawi. Acta Paediatr., 91: 1364-1370.
PubMed  |  Direct Link  |  

8:  Gam, S.M., M.L. Velle, K.R. Rosenberg and V.M. Hawthorn, 1986. Maturational timing as a factor in female fatness and obesity. Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 43: 879-883.
Direct Link  |  

9:  Grantham-McGregor, S., 1995. A review of the studies of the effects of severe malnutrition on mental development. J. Nutr., 125: S2233-S2238.
Direct Link  |  

10:  Haas, J.D., S. Murdoch, J. Rivera and R. Martorell, 1996. Early nutrition and later physical work capacity. Nutr. Rev., 54: S41-S48.
PubMed  |  Direct Link  |  

11:  Hamill, P.V.V., T.A. Drizd, C.L. Johnson, R.B. Reed, A.F. Roche and W.M. Moore, 1979. Physical growth: National centre for health statistics percentiles. Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 32: 607-629.
PubMed  |  Direct Link  |  

12:  Jackson, M., M. Samms-Vaughan and D. Ashley, 2002. Nutritional status of 11-12 years-old Jamaican children: Coexistence of under- and over-nutrition in early adolescence. Public Health Nutr., 5: 281-288.
PubMed  |  Direct Link  |  

13:  Kurz, K.M., 1996. Adolescent nutritional status in developing countries. Proc. Nutr. Soc., 55: 321-331.

14:  Martorell, R., L.K. Khan and D.G. Schroeder, 1994. Reversibility of stunting: Epidemiological findings in children from developing countries. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr., 48: S45-S57.
PubMed  |  

15:  MEP, 2007. Microsoft Encarta Encyclopeadia Premium Suite. Microsoft Corporation, USA.

16:  Monyeki, K.D., M.A. Monyeki, S.J. Brits, H.C.G. Kemper and P.J. Makgae, 2008. Development and tracking of body mass index from preschool age into adolescence in rural South African children: Ellisras longitudinal growth and health study. J. Health Popul. Nutr., 26: 405-417.
PubMed  |  Direct Link  |  

17:  Must, A., G.E. Dallal and W.H. Dietz, 1991. Reference data for obesity: 85th 95th percentiles of body mass index and triceps skinfold thickness. Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 53: 839-846.

18:  Must, A., G.E. Dallal and W.H. Dietz, 1991. Reference data for obesity: 85th and 95th percentiles of body mass index (wt/ht2) -a correction. Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 54: 773-773.

19:  Popkin, B.M., 1994. The nutrition transition in low-income countries an emerging crisis. Nutr. Rev., 52: 285-298.
PubMed  |  

20:  Senderowitz, J., 1995. Adolescent Health: Reassessing the Passage of Adulthood. World Bank Discussion Papers, No. 272. The World Bank, Washington, DC., USA.

21:  Serdula, M.K., D. Ivery, R.J. Coates, D.S. Freeman, D.F. Williamson and T. Byers, 1993. Do obese children become obese adults? A review of the literature. Prev. Med., 22: 167-177.
CrossRef  |  PubMed  |  Direct Link  |  

22:  Troina, R.P., K.M. Flegal, R.J. Kuczmarski, S.M. Campbell and C.L. Johnson, 1995. Overweight prevalence and trends for children and adolescents. Arch. Pediatr. Adolesc. Med., 149: 1085-1091.
PubMed  |  Direct Link  |  

23:  Ogechi, U.P., O.I. Akhakhia and U.A. Ugwunna, 2007. Nutritional status and energy intake of adolescents in umuahia urban, Nigeria. Pak. J. Nutr., 6: 641-646.
CrossRef  |  Direct Link  |  

24:  Venkaiah, K., K. Damayanti, M.U. Nayak and K. Vijayaraghavan, 2002. Diet and nutritional status of rural adolescents in India. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr., 56: 1119-1125.

25:  Wamani, H., A.N. Astrom, S. Peterson, J.K. Tumwine and T. Tylleskar, 2007. Boys are more stunted than girls in Sub-Saharan Africa: A meta-analysis of 16 demographic and health surveys. BMC Pediat., 7: 17-17.
CrossRef  |  Direct Link  |  

26:  Wang, Y., B. Popkin and F. Zhai, 1998. The nutritional status and dietary patterns of Chinese adolescents 1991 and 1993. Eur. J. Clin. Nutr., 52: 908-916.
PubMed  |  Direct Link  |  

27:  Wikipedia, 2007. Demography of Nigeria. Retrieved from, on Monday 31st December 2007.

28:  WHO, 1986. Young peoples health: A challenge for society. Technical Report Series No. 731, World Health Organization, Geneva.

29:  WHO., 1995. Physical status: The use and interpretation of anthropometry. Report of a WHO Expert Committee, Technical Report Series No. 854, World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.

30:  WHO, 2000. Health Systems: Improving Performance. World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.

©  2020 Science Alert. All Rights Reserved