DIETARY HABITS AND ANTHROPOMETRIC STATUS OF SCHOOL-AGED CHILDREN IN ENUGU EAST LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF ENUGU STATE
Keywords:Dietary habits, school-aged children, anthropometric status
This cross-sectional study assessed the dietary habits and anthropometric status of school-aged children in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu State. A multi-stage sampling technique was used to sample 382 children from both public and private schools. Data were gathered with the use of structured questionnaire while height and weight were measured with anthropometric
equipment. Descriptive statistics and WHO anthro were used to analyze the collected data while Chi-square was used to determine association between dietary habits of the children and their anthropometric status. The result on personal data of the children showed that 55.0% were females, 45.0% were males and their age ranges were 6-8years (36.1%), 9-10years (34.0%) and 29.9% were of ages11-12years. The educational and occupation status of their parents showed that 49.7% and 57.1% of their fathers and mothers attained secondary level, respectively, 31.7% and 24.1% of their fathers and mothers were civil servants, respectively. The dietary habits of the
children indicated that 26.7% of them skipped meals especially lunch (11.1%) or dinner (11.0%).
The main reason for skipping meal was non-availability of food (12.0%). Majority (77.2%) of the children had normal weight-for-height, and 76.4% had normal weight-for-age. Height-for-age index indicated that 82.2% were normal. Positive associations were noted between dietary habits of the children and parents’ level of education. Dietary habits of the children showed significant positive associations with all the anthropometric indices. This shows that good dietary habits as well as improved economic status contributes to good nutritional status.