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British Journal of Medicine and Medical Research, ISSN: 2231-0614,Vol.: 4, Issue.: 27 (21-30 September)


Feeding Pattern and Health Challenges of Nigerian Primary School Children in a Southeastern Urban Centre


C. I. Ndukwu1*

1Department of Paediatrics, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra State, Nigeria.

Article Information


(1) William Ebomoyi, Department of Health Studies, College of Health Sciences, Chicago State University, Chicago illinois 60628-1598, USA.

(2) Tarek Tawfik Amin, Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Egypt.

(3) Salomone Di Saverio, Emergency Surgery Unit, Department of General and Transplant Surgery, S. Orsola Malpighi University Hospital, Bologna, Italy.


(1) Anonymous.

(2) Freda Dzifa Intiful, University of Ghana, Ghana.

Complete Peer review History:http://www.sciencedomain.org/review-history/4994


Aims: To document the feeding pattern of public primary school children, with emphasis on the staple diet and skipped meals; and the influence of diet and certain maternal demographic characteristics on their health and nutritional status.
Study Design: This was a cross sectional descriptive study.
Place and Duration of Study: The study was done in Onitsha, Anambra state, South East Nigeria between September and December, 2010
Methodology: This was a cross sectional descriptive study with multistage sampling of 804 children aged 6 to 12years from 12 public primary schools in the area. Selection was based on the age and gender distribution in each school. Verbal and written explanation was given to the parents/care givers who were invited to the schools to respond to interviewer administered questionnaires. Information was obtained on the feeding pattern of their children and maternal demographic characteristics. The children of those who responded, thereafter, had their heights measured and were assessed for clinically obvious morbidities. Information obtained on the age of respondents was verified from the schools’ registers. Data entry and analyses were done using Microsoft Office Excel 2007 and Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 16.
Results: There were 406 males and 398 females with a male to female ratio of 1.02:1. Their staple diet was cassava and rice. An average of 2.5% of the children skipped one meal daily. Breakfast, which was the only meal that had a significant effect on stunted growth, (F=24.177, p value=0.002) was skipped by 2.2% of the children on the day of interview. Only 1 of the children had a fruit within 24hours of the data collection. Fourteen percent of these children were stunted and the predominant morbidity observed was dermatophytosis. Most of the mothers (82%) were engaged in petty trading and menial jobs with 23.8% of them spending less than 500naira (3USD) on daily feeding. Maternal education and occupation were significantly associated with stunting in the children; p<0.05.
Conclusion: Provision of at least 1 free school meal, preferably breakfast, is advocated for children in public primary schools. This will help to improve the daily nutritional content of the meals of these children who are obviously from poor homes.

Keywords :

Feeding pattern; staple diet; health; stunting.

Full Article - PDF    Page 4542-4552

DOI : 10.9734/BJMMR/2014/9942

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