Kamal ChaulagainSave the Children, Nepal
Title: Prevalence and Associated Factors of Stunting and Thinness among School Adolescents Living in a Municipality of Nepal
Background: Adolescence is a critical period of the life cycle with a continuum of physical, behavioral, cognitive, and psychosocial changes. This is the stage when adolescent boys and girls undergo physical growth, sexual and reproductive maturation along with cognitive transformations. All these transformations necessitate highest nutrient intake. But unfortunately, many adolescents lack the required nutrition resulting in many nutritional deficiencies. The macronutrient deficiencies are observed among the adolescents. Stunting and thinness remain the most common nutritional problems in various parts of the world. However, the utmost burden is in developing countries with the highest number of adolescents being affected with under nutrition. Given this scenario, there is little evidence on factors associated with under nutrition among adolescents in Nepal. This study therefore aimed to identify the factors associated with stunting and thinness. Methods: A cross-sectional analytical study was carried out among school adolescents in a municipality of Nepal. A random sample of 558 school adolescents aged 10-19 years from nine schools was included in the study. A structured self-administered questionnaire was used for data collection. The physical measurement of the height and weight were measured as per the standard. Descriptive statistics were carried out. Variables were considered for multivariable logistic regression if a P-value was ?0.25 during bivariate logistic regression. The odds ratio with a 95% CI was calculated and a P-value of ?0.05 was considered to declare the statistical significance of variables after fitting into the multivariable logistic regression. Results: The overall prevalence of stunting and thinness was 17.20% (95% CI: 14.06, 20.34) and 4.48% (95% CI: 2.75, 6.20) respectively. The mean age of respondents was 12.5 years. The middle adolescents were 2 (AOR: 1.86, 95% CI: 1.03, 3.38) times and late adolescents were 3 (AOR: 3.65, 95% CI: 1.52, 3.38) times more likely to develop stunting as compared to early adolescents. Similarly, adolescents studying at private schools were 0.5 (AOR 0.58, 95% CI 0.30 to 1.11) times less likely to get stunted as compared to their counter parts. Adolescents living with more than four family members were 4 (AOR: 4.35, 95% CI: 1.27, 14.90) times thinner than the adolescents staying with less than four family members. Conclusion: Adolescents in urban areas still face the problem of under nutrition in particular stunting and thinness. It is therefore pertinent to emphasize on the improvement of the healthy eating behaviors and practices of the adolescents in order to improve their nutritional status.
Kamal Chaulagain has completed his MPH at the age of 28 years from Patan Academy of Health Sciences, Nepal. He has also completed MA Sociology from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. He is working as Health Emergency and Surveillance Technical Officer at Save the Children, Nepal.