High Prevalence of Overall Overweight/obesity and Abdominal Obesity Amongst Adolescents: An Emerging Nutritional Problem in Rural High Schools in Limpopo Province, South Africa

Sego Debeila, Perpetua Modjadji*, Sphiwe Madiba

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: As the gap in nutritional profiles between urban and rural rapidly reduces because of nutrition transition, rural adolescents are likely to engage in urban lifestyle behaviours. Aim: The study determined the prevalence of overweight/obesity amongst adolescents in rural high schools and the association with selected factors. Setting: Fetakgomo Municipality in rural Limpopo Province, South Africa. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted amongst 378 adolescents selected through multistage sampling from high schools. Data collected were socio-demography, nutritional knowledge, dietary practices and anthropometry. The International Obesity Task Force age and sex-specific body mass index (BMI) cut-off values were used to determine overweight/ obesity, whilst adult BMI cut-off values were used for those ≥ 18 years. Waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) greater than 0.5 indicated abdominal obesity, as well as waist circumference (WC) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) above the cut-off values. Results: The proportion of overweight/obesity amongst adolescents was 35%, whilst 25% had abdominal obesity by WHR and 21% by WHtR. Multivariate logistic regression showed that being a girl (AOR = 2.9, 95% CI: 1.74–4.85), older adolescent (AOR = 3.1, 95% CI: 1.57–6.29) and living in a household with employed adults (AOR = 2.3, 95% CI: 1.19–4.51) were associated with increased odds of being overweight/obese. Eating breakfast was associated with reduced odds of being overweight/obese (AOR = 0.6, 95% CI: 0.34–0.97). Conclusion: Overweight/obesity and abdominal obesity amongst adolescents were more prevalent than underweight. The Integrated School Health Programme should have clear guidelines on food items served and sold at schools.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalAfrican Journal of Primary Health Care and Family Medicine
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • dietary practices
  • high school adolescents
  • nutrition knowledge
  • overweight and obesity
  • rural South Africa
  • socio-demography

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