Original Research

High prevalence of overall overweight/obesity and abdominal obesity amongst adolescents: An emerging nutritional problem in rural high schools in Limpopo Province, South Africa

Sego Debeila, Perpetua Modjadji, Sphiwe Madiba
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 13, No 1 | a2596 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v13i1.2596 | © 2021 Perpetua Modjadji | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 June 2020 | Published: 18 May 2021

About the author(s)

Sego Debeila, Department of Public Health, School of Health Care Sciences, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Ga-Rankuwa, South Africa
Perpetua Modjadji, Department of Public Health, School of Health Care Sciences, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Ga-Rankuwa, South Africa
Sphiwe Madiba, Department of Public Health, School of Health Care Sciences, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Ga-Rankuwa, South Africa

Abstract

Background: As the gap in nutritional profiles between urban and rural rapidly reduces because of nutrition transition, rural adolescents are likely to engage in urban lifestyle behaviours.

Aim: The study determined the prevalence of overweight/obesity amongst adolescents in rural high schools and the association with selected factors.

Setting: Fetakgomo Municipality in rural Limpopo Province, South Africa.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted amongst 378 adolescents selected through multistage sampling from high schools. Data collected were socio-demography, nutritional knowledge, dietary practices and anthropometry. The International Obesity Task Force age and sex-specific body mass index (BMI) cut-off values were used to determine overweight/obesity, whilst adult BMI cut-off values were used for those ≥ 18 years. Waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) greater than 0.5 indicated abdominal obesity, as well as waist circumference (WC) and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) above the cut-off values.

Results: The proportion of overweight/obesity amongst adolescents was 35%, whilst 25% had abdominal obesity by WHR and 21% by WHtR. Multivariate logistic regression showed that being a girl (AOR = 2.9, 95% CI: 1.74–4.85), older adolescent (AOR = 3.1, 95% CI: 1.57–6.29) and living in a household with employed adults (AOR = 2.3, 95% CI: 1.19–4.51) were associated with increased odds of being overweight/obese. Eating breakfast was associated with reduced odds of being overweight/obese (AOR = 0.6, 95% CI: 0.34–0.97).

Conclusion: Overweight/obesity and abdominal obesity amongst adolescents were more prevalent than underweight. The Integrated School Health Programme should have clear guidelines on food items served and sold at schools.


Keywords

overweight and obesity; socio-demography; nutrition knowledge; dietary practices; high school adolescents; rural South Africa

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Crossref Citations

1. Comparison of Malnutrition Indicators and Associated Socio-Demographic Factors among Children in Rural and Urban Public Primary Schools in South Africa
Mosebudi Olga Hlahla, Lindy Agatha Kunene, Peter Modupi Mphekgwana, Sphiwe Madiba, Kotsedi Dan Monyeki, Perpetua Modjadji
Children  vol: 10  issue: 11  first page: 1749  year: 2023  
doi: 10.3390/children10111749