Socio-demographic factors associated with overweight and obesity among primary school children in semi-urban areas of mid-western Nigeria
Many developing countries are in a state of nutritional transition from prevalent under-nutrition to the emergent problem of over-nutrition (overweight and obesity), which is associated with increased morbidity and mortality, and whose complications can persist into adulthood with long-term consequences. However, data are limited on the risk factors for overweight and obesity (O&O) among primary school children, particularly those in rural and semi-urban areas in these countries.
Aim and objectives
To determine the socio-demographic factors associated with overweight and obesity among primary school children in semi-urban areas.
Subjects and methods
1187 school pupils aged 6–11 years recruited from semi-urban areas using multistage sampling were interviewed for risk factors of overweight and obesity using a structured questionnaire. Nutritional status was assessed using body mass index and this was classified using a standard method. The proportions were compared using Pearson’s chi-squared. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was also carried out with overweight and obesity as the dependent variable and socio demographic factors as independent variables. The level of statistical significance was set at p <0.05 in all the statistical analyses.
Fifty-eight pupils (4.9%) had overweight and obesity while 1129 (95.1%) were either of normal nutritional status (1088, 91.6%) or were thin/severely thin (41, 3.5%). Among those with overweight and obesity, 41 (3.5%) were overweight and 17 (1.4%) obese. A higher prevalence of overweight and obesity was significantly associated (in unadjusted analysis) with female gender [unadjusted Odds Ratio, OR (95% CI) = 2.42 (1.37, 4.28)], attendance at private schools [OR (95% CI) = 3.34 (1.86, 6.00)], higher socio-economic status families [OR (95% CI) = 2.32 (1.65, 5.80)] and presence of a television in the pupil’s bedrooms [OR (95% CI) = 2.22 (1.02, 4.82)] on bivariate analyses. However, only gender, school type and family socioeconomic status were independently associated with overweight and obesity on multivariate logistic regression analysis.
We conclude that overweight and obesity among primary school pupils in semi-urban areas is associated with female gender, attendance at private schools and higher socioeconomic status families. Preventive programmes should accordingly be more directed at children from affluent families; particularly those who are females and those attending private schools.