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Nutritional status of 11–12-year-old Jamaican children: coexistence of under- and overnutrition in early adolescence

  • Maria Jackson (a1), Maureen Samms-Vaughan (a1) and Deanna Ashley (a2)

Abstract

Objective:

To determine the nutritional status of a cohort of 11–12 year olds and ascertain social and demographic factors associated with under- and overweight in early adolescence.

Design:

Cross-sectional.

Subjects:

Subgroup (n=1698) of the birth cohort (September–October 1986) of the Jamaican Perinatal Survey enrolled in schools in the Kingston Metropolitan area. One thousand and sixty-three parents or caregivers provided social and demographic information.

Results:

Undernutrition and overnutrition are of public health significance among adolescent Jamaican children. Ten per cent of 11–12 year olds had body mass index (BMI) values below the 5th percentile (boys, 10.6%; girls, 7.1%) but this prevalence is relatively low compared with other developing countries. The prevalence of stunting was low (3%). The prevalence of overweight (BMI≥85th percentile) (19.3%) was approaching prevalence rates found in the USA. Similar social and demographic variables were associated with thinness and fatness in males. Birth weight predicted overweight in girls.

Conclusions:

Under- and overnutrition in early adolescence are important problems in Jamaica. There is a need to address both under- and overnutrition in adolescence in preventive and rehabilitative intervention programmes.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email majacksn@uwimona.edu.jm

References

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