Adolescent weight status is a cumulative effect of health and nutritional problems. Adolescent weight problems often go unnoticed as weight assessment is not considered a priority in adolescents.
To determine the weight status of adolescents using BMI and to identify the contributing factors to adolescent weight problems.
In April 2010, 960 adolescents aged 10–19 years in secondary schools in Port Harcourt were selected for the study using a stratified multi-staged sampling method. Structured questionnaires were filled by the investigators while weight and height were measured. BMI was calculated using the formula weight/height2 (kg/m2).
The prevalence of underweight, overweight, obesity and stunting were 6.4%, 6.3%, 1.8% and 5.4% respectively. Factors which were commoner in overweight adolescents were high socioeconomic class, higher maternal education, spending > 3 hours a day watching television and frequent ingestion of snacks.
There is a need for periodic weight assessment of adolescents and health education to promote healthy eating habits and regular physical exercise as part of the School Health Programme.