International Journal of Health Sciences and Research

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Original Research Article

Year: 2017 | Month: July | Volume: 7 | Issue: 7 | Pages: 191-201

Prevalence and Socio-Demographic Profile of Overfat and Obese Primary School Children in Mashonaland West Province, Zimbabwe

Kambondo George1, Sartorius Benn1, Mhlanga Maxwell2

1Discipline of Public Health, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban, South Africa
2College of Health Sciences, University of Zimbabwe

Corresponding Author: Mhlanga Maxwell


Background: The growing burden of obesity is evident especially in developing setting. The major health consequences of childhood obesity are realised in adulthood as cardiovascular diseases (mostly heart disease and stroke); diabetes and musculoskeletal disorders at a younger age as examples. This has a major bearing in health and economic consequences for developing countries. The study was conducted to estimate the burden of overfat and obesity among primary school children and identify associated socio-demographic correlates in Mashonaland West Province, Zimbabwe.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in 30 randomly selected (with probability proportional to size) schools (“clusters”) in 2015. The participants were primary school children aged 6-12 years. At least 30 children were selected per school resulting in 974 randomly participants with a response rate of 98%. Sample weights were used for the analyses to account for the multistage sampling design. Nutritional status was determined using the international obesity task force (IOTF) criteria and McCarthy body fat reference curves.
Results: The overall prevalence of overfat and obese among primary school children was 8% (95%CI: 6-10%) and 10% (95%CI: 6-17%) respectively. Females had a higher prevalence of overfat/obese 11% (95% CI: 7-17%) as compared with males 7% (95%CI: 4-10%) and this difference was statistically significant (p<0.012). The estimated population burden of obesity among primary school children was 23 971 (95%CI: 10 198, 37 742) with 14 823 (95%CI: 5 285, 24 359) females and 9 148 (95%CI:4 327, 13 969) males. Prevalence of overfat/obese was significantly higher among high-income families as compared to the low social class (p=<0.002).
Conclusion: Overfat/obese prevalence is high in primary school children, especially among females in urban areas and in higher income families. Primary preventive intervention strategies need to be implemented such as dietary education and physical activities to primary schools and regular obesity assessments.

Key words: Prevalence; overfat; obese; school children; Zimbabwe

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