Nutritional Status and Lifestyle Patterns among Primary School Pupils in Edo State, Nigeria: Implications for Health Promotion
Childhood nutrition and lifestyle patterns play a critical role in shaping the health and development of individuals, laying the foundation for a healthy adulthood. In Nigeria, Edo State faces a dual burden of malnutrition, with pockets of undernutrition coexisting with the rising prevalence of childhood obesity. This cross-sectional study assessed the nutritional status of primary school pupils in the State and explored lifestyle factors such as dietary habits and physical activity. Data were collected on 1805 pupils from sixteen randomly selected schools through anthropometric measurements and Administration Food Consumption Pattern Questionnaires. These data were analysed using SPSS version 23 and presented using frequency distributions, percentage distributions, mean, standard deviations, and chi-square. The study revealed that 77.0% of the respondents exhibited normal nutritional status, indicating a satisfactory outcome for a significant proportion of the school-age population. However, there was a worrisome prevalence of over-nutrition, with 14% of the pupils classified as obese 10.0% extreme tallness. Regarding dietary habits, most pupils reported consuming three meals a day, but a significant proportion relied on carbohydrate-rich foods, raising concerns about the nutritional adequacy of their diets. Regarding physical activity, a higher proportion of respondents engaged in activities during school hours, but participation was low after the school period. The study underscored the importance of addressing over-nutrition and promoting balanced diets and physical activity among primary school pupils in Edo State, Nigeria. Effective health promotion strategies must consider lifestyle preferences to improve the health and well-being of this vulnerable population to ensure a healthier future for Edo State's children
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