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Year : 2015  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 59-65

Prevalence of overweight/obesity among primary school pupils in Urban Centre, Nigeria

1 Department of Paediatrics, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi Araba, Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria
2 Department of Paediatrics, University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Hassan Abdullahi Elechi
Department of Paediatrics, College of Medical Sciences, University of Maiduguri, P. M. B. 1069, Maiduguri
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2347-2618.171959

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Background: Overweight and obesity, initially thought to be the problem of the developed countries, are rapidly rising in the developing countries constituting a high proportion of nutritional problems in these countries. Several factors, including changing lifestyle and improved economic power, are believed to contribute to this trend. This pattern if unchecked is known to lead to several medical complications. We thus aim to assess and compare the prevalence of overweight/obesity among primary school pupils from the public and private schools as well as determine factors contributing to the rising trend. Materials and Methods: Four hundred and twenty primary school children from public and private schools were selected using multistage stratified random sampling. Relevant information was obtained using a questionnaire, and anthropometric indices were recorded. Data obtained were analyzed using EPI INFO version 3.5.1. and frequencies were compared using Chi-square. Results: Seventy-three (17.4%) of the 420 pupils studied were found to be overweight/obese. Pupils from private school accounted for the majority of these cases with 28 (13.3%) and 29 (13.8%) of them being overweight and obese, respectively. High socioeconomic class and consumption of energy-dense diet were significantly associated with high prevalence of overweight/obesity (P < 0.001). In contrast, regular physical activity was significantly associated with low prevalence (P < 0.001). Conclusion and Recommendations: Prevalence of overweight/obesity among primary school pupils is quite high in Lagos, Nigeria. High socioeconomic class, consumption of energy dense food, and lack of adequate physical activities appear to be major factors contributing to this high prevalence. Introduction of daily school meal and mandatory physical activity in all the schools would go a long way in imbibing healthy eating and lifestyle pattern into these children. Public nutritional education and campaign on the importance of healthy lifestyle and complications associated with overweight and obesity would probably reverse the trend.

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