Background: There are few data describing the relative height and weight patterns of children and adolescents in rural Nigeria, despite a prevalence of stunting of over 38% among children younger than 5 years. Aim: The present study documented the height and weight patterns relative to international standards among children and adolescents aged 520 years in rural Nigeria. Subjects and methods: Children 520 years of age were enrolled from two rural villages. Height and weight were measured; body composition was estimated using bioelectrical impedance analysis. z-scores and centiles for height and body mass index were calculated; prevalences of low relative height (i.e.>2 standard deviations below mean for age and sex) and weight by sex and age were estimated. Results: A total of 623 participants (326 male and 297 female) were enrolled. The mean height-for-age z-score for males younger than 19 years was 2.1 and prevalence of low relative height was 50%. Among females, the mean height-for-age z-score was 1.2 during adolescence; only 15% of adolescent females were of low relative height. Based on BMI-for-age, 37% of the adolescent males and 23% of females were underweight. No children or adolescents were overweight based on BMI-for-age. Conclusions: Low relative height and underweight occur in a large proportion of children and adolescents in rural Nigeria, with the lowest relative heights and weights occurring in mid-adolescence and among males.
- Sub-Saharan Africa
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health