Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

BMC Pediatrics





PubMed ID





School of Medical and Health Sciences




Gyamfi, D., Obirikorang, C., Acheampong, E., Asamoah, E. A., Sampong, B. B., Batu, E. N., & Anto, E. O. (2019). Weight management among school-aged children and adolescents: A quantitative assessment in a Ghanaian municipality. BMC Pediatrics, 19.

Available here.


BACKGROUND: Childhood and adolescent overweight, obesity and underweight have become an issue of grave concern to both the developed and developing countries in context of global burden of non-communicable diseases. Unhealthy weight status is a significant public health issue for developing countries, of which Ghana is not excluded. This study evaluated the prevalence of overweight, obesity and underweight and its related factors among school-aged children and adolescents.

METHODS: A total of 1004 participants were randomly selected from six schools. A structured questionnaire on demography and socioeconomic status of students' parents/guardians was completed by the selected students. Anthropometric parameters were measured, and body mass index (BMI) and waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) were calculated. BMI-for-age z-scores were used to categorize anthropometric data of the children as underweight, normal, overweight or obese. A cut-off value of > 0.50 was used to define obesity by WHtR.

RESULTS: Overweight prevalence of 13.8% and 12.6 was observed among basic school and high school students respectively based on BMI classification. Obesity prevalence of 8.8% was found in basic school students and 8.9% among high school students. Underweight was observed in 114 (11.3%) basic school students and 86 (8.6%) high school students. There was a difference in sex prevalence in unhealthy weight-behaviours; with more girls being overweight (19.4% vs 7.6%, p < 0.001) and obese (10.2% vs. 7.3%, p = 0.177) compared to boys. High WHtR found in 10.5% of basic students and 5.0% of high school students, with a statistical difference. Overweight/obesity was significantly associated with taking snacks before bed among basic school students [aOR = 10.45(5.95-18)] and high school students [aOR = 10.23(5.95-18.37)] respectively. Watching TV [aOR = 0.39(0.22-0.70)], sleeping during leisure periods [aOR = 0.43(0.23-0.81)] and bicycling as a means of transport [aOR = 0.37(0.19-0.72)] to school was protective of obesity among basic school students.

CONCLUSION: High prevalence of unhealthy weight-related behaviours was observed among school-aged children in the Bekwai Municipality. Snacking before bed was a major factor promoting obesity among school-aged children while leisure behaviours such as TV watching, and sleeping were protective of obesity. Therefore, it is recommended to promote and support healthy eating habits among school-aged children which are likely beneficial in reducing the risk of childhood unhealthy weight-related behaviours.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Article Location