Malnutrition continues to be a major problem among school-aged children in developing countries. In Ghana, there is not much documented data on the nutritional status of this category of children. Thus, this cross-sectional study was conducted to assess the nutritional status of 120 upper primary school pupils, comprising 60 males and 60 females in a rural setting. These pupils were randomly selected from 3 public schools in 3 villages with similar socioeconomic characteristics in the Atwima-Nwabiagya District of the Ashanti region of Ghana. A pretested structured questionnaire was used to collect information on socio-demographic characteristics and food consumption patterns of the pupils while an electronic bathroom scale and microtoise stadiometer were used to obtain their weights and heights, respectively. A 24-hour dietary recall was used to assess the nutrients and energy intakes and the ESHA food processor nutrients database was employed in the analysis of energy and nutrients. To assess stunting and underweight among the respondents, WHO/Epi software was used. T-test and chi-squared statistic were used to analyze differences between variables. The results of the study revealed that almost half of the pupils reported eating three times daily with breakfast and lunch mainly consumed from the school canteen. The 24-hour recall showed that the pupils did not meet their energy and nutrient requirements except for five out of the twelve nutrients investigated. The prevalence of stunting and underweight were 56.7% and 45.8%, respectively, among the respondents. More males than females were either stunted or underweight. However, no significant difference was found between males and females in the incidence of stunting and underweight. The prevalence of thinness also showed that 5% of the males were thin and 13.5% females were overweight/obese. It was concluded that the nutritional status of the respondents was poor since the incidence of stunting and underweight were high while energy and some nutrients were below the recommended intakes. The researchers recommended that there should be more effort in designing intervention programs to improve the quality of meals the pupils consume and also there should be more emphasis on nutrition education at the primary level in rural areas.
Angelina Opoku Danquah,
Adwoa Nyantakyiwaa Amoah,
Nutritional Status of Upper Primary School Pupils in a Rural Setting in Ghana, International Journal of Nutrition and Food Sciences.
Vol. 2, No. 6,
2013, pp. 320-326.
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