Nutritional Status of Adolescents in Public and Private Secondary Schools in Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria

Afe, J. E. *

Department of Community Medicine and Primary Health Care, Faculty of Medicine, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria and Nutrition Unit, Department of Community Health Services, Delta State Primary Health Care Development Agency, Anwai-illah Road, P.M.B. 95114, Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria.

Ubajaka, C. F.

Department of Community Medicine and Primary Health Care, Faculty of Medicine, Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Anambra State, Nigeria.

Okoye, A. C.

Department of Nursing, Faculty of Nursing Science, Near East University, Turkey.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


This study aimed to compare the nutritional status of adolescents in private and public secondary schools in Asaba, Delta State. A cross-sectional analytical design was conducted among 282 adolescents from private day, private boarding and public secondary schools, selected by multistage sampling technique. Anthropometrics measures and socio-demographic characteristics data were collected using pretested questionnaire. Using WHO-reference-2007, height, BMI and weight-for-age were measured for stunting, wasting and underweight respectively and BMI-for-age for overweight and obesity. The collected data were entered in to Microsoft Excel and exported to SPSS for further statistical analysis. Chi-square test at 95% confidence interval (CI) was used to quantify independent variables of nutritional indices. The mean age of the students in public, private day, and private boarding schools were 14.28±2.79, 13.54±2.24, and 14.04±2.53 years, respectively. The prevalence of stunting, thinness, underweight, normal weight and overweight among public school participants was 31, 35, 29, 71, 0% respectively; that of private day school participants was 34, 45, 29, 63, 9%, respectively whereas that of private boarding school participants was 39, 47, 23, 61, 16%, respectively. These differences in the underweight and obesity were statistically significant (p<0.05). Statistical analyses revealed significant associations (p<0.05) between socioeconomic levels and underweight, highlighting the vulnerability of adolescents from lower socio-economic backgrounds. The influence of poverty on stunting was particularly pronounced within private boarding schools. The result also showed that there was no significant association between thinness, stunting, underweight and eating patterns among adolescents in all school types, however, significant association were observed for overweight. Thus, nutrition interventions to improve nutritional status of the adolescents through providing comprehensive nutritional assessment and counseling services at community, school, and health facility levels, and creating household’s income-generating activities are recommended before they reach conception to break the intergenerational cycle effect of malnutrition.

Keywords: Nutritional status, adolescent, schools, malnutrition

How to Cite

Afe, J. E., Ubajaka, C. F., & Okoye, A. C. (2023). Nutritional Status of Adolescents in Public and Private Secondary Schools in Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria. European Journal of Nutrition & Food Safety, 15(11), 109–124.


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