Background: Adolescence is a stage of growth characterized with intense anabolism. During this stage the body requirements for all nutrients increases. Children at this stage usually have poor feeding habits with limited nutritional awareness. Adolescents are very vulnerable to malnutrition yet for many years, their health has been neglected because they were considered to be less vulnerable to disease than the young children or the elderly. Not until the past decade that their health attracted global attention. As a result this study seeks to ascertain the prevalence of underweight and possible associated factors in the school going adolescents in Juba, South Sudan.
Results: About 39.5% (25.2% grade 1, 7.6% grade 2 and 6.7% grade 3) of the participants were underweight with the majority (60.5%) within normal range of BMI. Female students were half as likely to be underweight (OR=0.46, p-value=0.00) compared to their male counterparts. In-take of greens (p-value=0.98) and meat (p-value=0.95) was not associated with underweight. Engagement in physical activity was not associated with underweight (p-value=0.26). Though not significantly associated with underweight, those that walked to school or those that used bicycles were 28% more likely to be underweight compared to those that went to school by either car or bus. Spending leisure time doing sports was not associated with being underweight (p-value=0.31). The number of meals in a day was not associated with underweight. Those that had physical activity at least twice were 15% more likely to be underweight compared to those that had it only once. This was however not significant (p-value=0.84). The amount of pocket money received by the student was not associated with underweight.
Andrew AK, Timothy C and Twinomujuni E
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