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Nutritional Status of Newly Enrolled Primary School Children in Jos-Plateau, Nigeria

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Author(s): Akor Francis | Okolo Seline | Okolo Angela

Journal: Pakistan Journal of Nutrition
ISSN 1680-5194

Volume: 9;
Issue: 12;
Start page: 1166;
Date: 2010;
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Keywords: Nutritional status | school feeding | anthropometric measure | Jos

ABSTRACT
Nutritional assessment of newly enrolled school children is needful to identify children with poor nutritional status. Poor nutrition as evidenced by poor growth and small stature could affect development, intellectual performance and intellectual achievement. Poor nutrition in school aged children is also likely to negatively affect their participation in normal school activities. Seven hundred and sixty four apparently healthy newly enrolled pupils were randomly selected using a multi stage proportionate sampling from both public and private schools. Their weights and heights were measured using standard methods. Undernutrition was determined using Z scores less than - 2 standard deviations of the NCHS/WHO international reference standard. Pupils from private schools were significantly taller (118.2±6.52) than their public school counterparts (115.7±8.44), p = 001. The prevalence of underweight, stunting and wasting was 10.3, 11.1 and 2.4% respectively. Stunting occurred in a higher proportion of boys than girls. Poor nutritional status was significantly commoner in public school pupils compared with private school pupils. These findings suggest that malnutrition (underweight, wasting and stunting) is not uncommon among newly enrolled school children and it underscores the need for institution and sustenance of a food program among school children.
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