Prevalence of overweight and obesity among primary school children in Kampala central, Uganda
Worldwide, the prevalence of overweight and obesity among children is increasing at an alarming rate. While this phenomenon has been well documented in western countries, scanty information exists in African countries. The purpose of this study was to assess the prevalence of overweight and obesity among primary children aged 8-12 years in Kampala, Uganda. Participants included 958 pupils (435 boys and 523 girls) from five public and five private primary schools. Weight and height were measured and body mass index calculated. The prevalence of underweight, overweight and obesity were 8.0%, 32.3% and 21.7%, respectively. Girls had higher percentage of overweight (64.4%) and obesity (52.9%) than boys (35.6%; and 47.1%, respectively). whereas underweight occurred more among the males (57.1%) compared with the females (42.9%). Normal weight was 50.3% and 49.7% for males and females, respectively. Children in private school had higher prevalence of overweight (16.6%) and obesity (11.5%) than those attending public schools, while children in public schools were more underweight (4.6%) compared to private school children (3.4%).The present study documents a considerably higher level of overweight, obesity concomitant with underweight in Ugandan school children; with overweight and obese occurring more in girls compared to the boys. Additionally, children in private schools were more overweight and obese compared to those in public schools. The high prevalence of body weight disorders found among the children has implications for their growth and development, thus intervention strategies are needed.
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