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Assessment of eating habits among adolescent Nigerian urban secondary schoolgirls

Authors:

Alphonsus N Onyiriuka ,

Department of Child Health, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria, LK
About Alphonsus
Department of Child Health, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria
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Amarabia N Ibeawuchi,

Department of Child Health, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria
About Amarabia
Department of Child Health, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria
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Rita C Onyiriuka

Department of Economics and Statistics, School of Postgraduate Studies, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria
About Rita
Department of Economics and Statistics, School of Postgraduate Studies, University of Benin, Benin City, Nigeria
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Abstract

Background: Eating habits are associated with the occurrence of obesity. In adolescence, eating habits differ greatly from that of any other phase of life.

Objective: To describe the eating habits of adolescent urban secondary schoolgirls in Benin City, Nigeria.

 

Methods: In this school-based cross-sectional study, data were obtained on the eating pattern and habits of adolescent urban public school girls, aged 12-19 years, using a structured anonymous-self-administered questionnaire. Information was obtained on frequencies of skipping meals, reasons for skipping meals, food choices as well as socio-demographic characteristics of participants. All the students in 2 randomly selected girls’ schools formed the study population. Data were entered directly from the pre-coded questionnaire. Statistical analysis was performed using the SPSS for Windows version 15.0.

Results: Total study population in the 2 schools was 2,166 of which 2,097 (97%) students participated in the study. Mean age of the participants was 14.8±1.9 years (95% CI=14.7-14.9). Fifty three percent were from families of middle socio-economic status, 85% of them living with their parents. Among the participants, 1,009 (48%) admitted skipping at least one meal fortnightly. Of the 3 main meals, breakfast was most frequently skipped (46%) and dinner least frequently skipped (22%). Frequency of skipping meals was 30%, 50% and 59% among participants less than14 years old, 14-16 years old and above 16 years old respectively (p<0.001). The 2 main reasons cited by participants for skipping breakfast were lack of appetite and time. Only 15% of the participants consumed fruits and vegetables daily. Sixty percent of the participants consumed fast foods with 76% of them consuming fast foods along with soft drinks.

Conclusion: Meal skipping, consumption of fast foods along with soft drinks and low consumption of fruits and vegetables were the main eating habits displayed by adolescent urban schoolgirls in Benin City, Nigeria.

(Key words: Adolescent urban school girls; eating habits; Nigeria)

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4038/sljch.v42i1.5290

How to Cite: Onyiriuka, A.N., Ibeawuchi, A.N. and Onyiriuka, R.C., 2013. Assessment of eating habits among adolescent Nigerian urban secondary schoolgirls. Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, 42(1), pp.20–26. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljch.v42i1.5290
Published on 13 Mar 2013.
Peer Reviewed

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