Nutritional and micronutrient status of adolescent schoolgirls in eastern Sudan: A cross-sectional study
Khamis, Ammar H.
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Background: Adolescents, especially girls, are susceptible to malnutrition and their diet must be adequate to support their very rapid growth and development. Currently, there is little published data on the nutritional state amongst adolescent girls in Sudan. Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted to assess the nutritional and micronutrient status of adolescent schoolgirls in eastern Sudan during the period of January-February 2015. Weight and height were measured using standard methods. Haemoglobin and ferritin levels were measured using blood samples, and blood films for malaria and stool samples for Schistosoma mansoni were investigated. Nutritional status was assessed according to the WHO 2006 reference values. Copper and zinc concentrations were measured by atomic absorption. Results: Twenty-five (13.7%) out of 183 girls were stunted. Seventy (38.3%) were thin; 17.5, 9.3 and 11.5% had mild, moderate and severe thinness, respectively. Only 10 (5.5%) and six (3.3%) girls were overweight and obese, respectively. The prevalence of anaemia was 77.0%. While there was no significant difference in the haemoglobin, ferritin, copper levels and thinness; thin children had significantly lower zinc (P=0.007). Conclusions: There is a high rate of stunting, thinness and anaemia among adolescent schoolgirls in eastern Sudan. More care has to be taken in order to provide a better nutrition status in the area.