Prevalence and factors associated with stunting and thinness among adolescent students in Northern Ethiopia: a comparison to World Health Organization standards
BACKGROUND Body mass index (BMI) is a commonly used anthropometric measurement to estimate the level of nutritional indices (underweight/overweight) of adolescents and adults. Knowledge of the factors affecting BMI is essential for developing intervention programs. This study was conducted to measure BMI and determine the socioeconomic and demographic factors affecting the relative weight of adolescents living in rural districts in Ethiopia. METHODS A randomized cross-sectional study of 425 adolescent students living in the Ambo region of Ethiopia was conducted. A pre-tested questionnaire was used to collect the socioeconomic and demographic status of the participants. BMI (weight/height(2), kg/m(2)) was measured and used as index of relative weight. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 15. A stepwise backward logistic regression analysis was applied to identify the major determinant abnormal weight of the adolescents while controlling for co-linearity. RESULTS The prevalence of underweight was 27.2% with male preponderance. The proportion of normal weight females was higher than that of males. There was no significant difference in the proportion of overweight males and females. Age, number of meals, parental education level, source of food, and number of cattle owned were correlated with being underweight. After adjusting for confounding variables only being a member of the younger age group (AOR=1.99; 95% CI=1.01 to 3.57), source of food (AOR=2.4; 95% CI=1.24 to 4.74), and a greater number of cattle owned (AOR=4.9; 95% CI=1.27 to 19.28 were positively correlated with being underweight. CONCLUSION Younger age adolescents, those who come from homes with no or few cattle, and their parents purchased food were likely to be underweight. This study will help local governments, educators and community groups develop programs to assist underweight adolescents attending schools.