Relative height and weight among children and adolescents of rural southwestern Nigeria

Omolola Ayoola, Kara Ebersole, Olayemi O. Omotade, Bamidele O. Tayo, William R. Brieger, Kabiru Salami, Lara R. Dugas, Richard S. Cooper, Amy Luke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-399
Number of pages12
JournalAnnals of Human Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009


  • Stunting
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Underweight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Physiology
  • Aging
  • Genetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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