Nutritional status of secondary school adolescents and associated factors in Gulu district, Uganda
MetadataShow full item record
Introduction: Many adolescents in Uganda have a poor nutritional status with the prevalence of wasting being at 32.9% and 14.3% for boys and girls respectively. The national adolescent health policy advocates for a nutritional survey of adolescents however in Gulu, there is little information on the nutritional status of secondary school adolescents. Objectives and significance: The general objective of the study was to assess the nutritional status of adolescents and the associated factors in Gulu district. The specific objectives of the study were as follows; to assess the nutritional status of adolescents, to determine the nutritional knowledge of adolescents, to determine the dietary practices of adolescents and to identify other factors that affect nutritional status of adolescent so as to information stake holders and those concerned on the current nutrition situation of secondary school adolescents in Gulu district. Methods: A cross sectional study design was used to conduct this study in Gulu district. Simple random sampling and probability proportion to size was used to select 844 secondary school respondents who participated in the study. Nutritional status was assessed using anthropometry (weight and height). A z-score of between -2 and -3 indicated moderate malnutrition and a zscore of greater than or equal to -3 indicated severe malnutrition. Trained research assistants conducted the anthropometry using standardized tools and administered a questionnaire. The questionnaire collected information on socio-demographic factors, socio-economic factors, morbidity, nutritional knowledge and dietary practices. Logistic regression was used to identify factors associated with nutritional status. A p-value of less than 0.05 denoted statistical significance. Results: Of the 844 study participants, 3.1% were wasted and 4.1% were stunted. The factors that were found to be associated with stunted included: age (AOR = 0.38; 95% C.I. 0.16-0.92), male sex (AOR = 6.65; 95% C.I. = 2.28-19.36). The factors that were found to be associated with wasting included: male sex (AOR =4.83; 95% C.I. = 1.57-14.79), age (15 – 17 years: AOR = 0.23; 95% C.I. 0.09-0.57; 18-19 years: AOR= 0.15; 95% C.I. = 0.04-0.55), socio-economic status (AOR = 0.10; 95% C.I. = 0.13-0.84), number of meals eaten regularly (AOR= 7.53; 95% C.I = 1.65-34.32) and skipping meals regularly (AOR = 0.36; 95% C.I = 0.14 – 0.95). Conclusion: The prevalence of both wasting and stunting were low. Majority of the respondents were however at a risk of being malnourished with majority having a z-score of below zero (both HFA and BMI for age). More interventions are hence required among adolescents.