Original Research

Socio-demographic determinants of body mass index among school children in Ebonyi State, Nigeria

Henry A. Akinsola, Chinwe Ezeruigbo, Kwabena A. Kyei, Felix C. Anyanwu, Robert Nemakhavhani
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 10, No 1 | a1450 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v10i1.1450 | © 2018 Henry A. Akinsola, Chinwe Ezeruigbo, Kwabena A. Kyei, Felix C. Anyanwu, Robert Nemakhavhani | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 March 2017 | Published: 07 March 2018

About the author(s)

Henry A. Akinsola, Department of Public Health, University of Venda, South Africa
Chinwe Ezeruigbo, Department of Nursing, Ebonyi State University, Nigeria
Kwabena A. Kyei, Department of Statistics, University of Venda, South Africa
Felix C. Anyanwu, Department of Public Health, University of Venda, South Africa
Robert Nemakhavhani, Department of Community Services, Vhembe District Municipality, South Africa


Background: African specific studies on the factors associated with the growth pattern of children are needed to guide evidence and develop effective population-based interventions that can be tailored to the unique African context.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to determine the socio-economic correlates of body mass index (BMI) of primary and secondary school children in Ebonyi State, which is situated in south-eastern Nigeria.
Methodology: This was a quantitative, cross-sectional study that utilised clustering and stratified sampling techniques to select 1000 learners from primary and secondary schools located in Abakaliki local government area. Apart from a questionnaire, a Mettler weighing scale was also used for data collection. A generalised linear model was used to test the association between the participants’ socio-demographic characteristics and their BMI.
Result: BMI was positively related to female gender but negatively related to age and level of education. The mode of cooking, who the participants live with and how they get to school also predicted changes in BMI. Other variables like mother’s occupation and family’s mode of transport were also associated with BMI changes while father’s level of education, mother’s level of education, father’s occupation and the type of residence did not have any statistical relationship with BMI.
Conclusion: The present study shows that the BMI of school children is influenced by the socio-demographic characteristics surrounding them. Therefore, efforts should be made to improve the socio-economic standing of families in this community.


body mass index; demographic determinant; school children; social determinants


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