Effects of Dietary Patterns on the Nutritional Status of Upper Primary School Children in Tamale Metropolis
Adamu Abiba, Adjei Naa Kai Grace and Kubuga Clement Kubreziga
Unhealthy eating increases the risk of malnutrition. This study was therefore carried out to determine the effects of dietary patterns on the nutritional status of upper primary school children in the Tamale metropolis. A cross-sectional study was carried out; hundred (100) participants were randomly selected from five basic schools. Data collection tools and techniques included: anthropometry, dietary assessment, interviews and observations. Food frequency questionnaires were administered to assess dietary intake over a period of two weeks. Results from the study revealed that, the prevalence of underweight was relatively low among participants (10%) as compared to other developing countries. 7% were at a risk of becoming overweight whilst 4% were overweight. Foods consumed were basically from local staples. Variability was however lacking in the diet for most (65%). Consumption of animal protein was also low. 73% of participants did not consume eggs whereas fish and meat were consumed occasionally. Most meals were eaten at home and parents mostly determined what is eaten at each meal time. 37% snack twice a day. 56% of the participants consumed both light and heavy meals as snacks. Snacking was frequent among the overweight and those at risk of becoming overweight than the underweight. General nutrition knowledge of respondents was poor. Conclusively, snacking is more likely to influence respondent's nutritional status. Moreover, sedentary lifestyles may be implicated for the prevalence of overweight and risk of becoming overweight. The risk of pernicious anemia could also be high since animal protein consumption was low.