Nutritional status of school children in the South Tongu District, Ghana

Aboagye, Richard Gyan, Kugbey, Nuworza, Ahinkorah, Bright Opoku, Seidu, Abdul-Aziz, Cadri, Abdul, Bosoka, Samuel Adolf, Akonor, Paa Yeboah, and Takase, Mohammed (2022) Nutritional status of school children in the South Tongu District, Ghana. PLoS ONE, 17 (8). e0269718.

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Background: Malnutrition is a major public health problem because of the devastating consequences it has on children, their families, and society at large. Our study, therefore, sought to determine the prevalence of undernutrition and overweight/obesity and its associated factors among children aged 6–12 in the South Tongu District, Ghana.

Methods: A school-based cross-sectional study was conducted among 423 school children aged 6–12 years in the South Tongu District of Ghana. A multistage sampling method was employed to recruit the school children for the study. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to collect data from the respondents. We used a dual-purpose (height and weight) measuring scale to obtain the anthropometric data. The World Health Organization’s AnthroPlus software was used to generate the z-scores for determining the nutritional status. Percentages were used to present the results of the prevalence of undernutrition and overweight/obesity among school children. Bivariate and multivariable binary logistic regression were used to examine the factors associated with undernutrition and overweight/obesity among school children. The results were presented as crude odds ratios (CORs) and adjusted odds ratios (AORs), with their 95% confidence interval (CI). Statistical significance was set at p<0.05. Stata 16.0 was used to perform the analyses.

Results: The overall prevalence of undernutrition and overweight/obesity were 21.5% (CI = 17.7, 25.7) and 24.8% (CI = 20.8, 29.2), respectively. Specifically, the prevalence of stunting, thinness, underweight, overweight, and obesity were 10.4%, 12.1%, 3.8%, 11.1%, and 13.7%, respectively. School children whose household used water from non-portable sources were more likely to be undernourished [AOR = 2.03, 95% CI = 1.13, 3.63]. The odds of overweight/obesity was higher among school children whose mothers had attained formal education [AOR = 2.10, 95% CI = 1.09, 4.06], those who consumed beverages between meals per day [AOR = 1.87, CI = 1.08, 3.24], and those who had adequate dietary diversity score [AOR = 1.65, 95% CI = 1.02, 2.67]. School children aged 10–12 were less likely to be overweight/obese [AOR = 0.58, 95% CI = 0.35, 0.94] compared to those aged 6–9.

Conclusion: The study showed a relatively high prevalence of undernutrition and overweight/obesity among school children in the South Tongu District. The identified risk factor(s) for undernutrition was the usage of water from non-potable sources whilst those of overweight/obesity were age (10–12 years), maternal formal education, beverage consumption between meals per day, and adequate dietary diversity. The findings reaffirm that malnutrition is still prevalent among school children. Hence, there is a need for the Ministry of Health, Ghana Education Service, and other Non-Governmental Organizations to pay critical attention to these factors to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 2, target 2.2. Nutritional behavioural change education should be carried out among parents and school children. School health service activities should be intensified with a special focus on nutritional screening.

Item ID: 76323
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
Copyright Information: © 2022 Aboagye et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2022 09:01
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4202 Epidemiology > 420208 Nutritional epidemiology @ 50%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420601 Community child health @ 50%
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