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Assessment Of The Level Of The Knowledge Of The Risk Factors Of Obesity Among Secondary School Students In Enugu State




The study is on “Assessment of the level of the knowledge of the risk factors of obesity among secondary school students in Enugu State”. The study has six objectives. Descriptive survey research design was used for the study. The population was 480 Final year students and the sample size was 275 students. Taro Yamanne (1969) statistical formula was used to determine the sample. Questionnaire was used for collection of data. The findings show that this study revealed that though majority of the command day secondary school students were aware of the risk factors of obesity, there were many gaps identified in their knowledge which needs to be bridged. Regular exercise was cited as the most common measure for prevention of development of obesity. The study therefore recommended that as result of the study shows that there is an immense need to promote healthy lifestyles among secondary school students to avoid the premature onset of obesity and overweight. Health care personnel especially Nutritionists and Dietitians’ should be actively involved in awareness campaigns against obesity and overweight.


According to WHO (2000), overweight and obesity are the fifth leading risk for global deaths. Non-communicable diseases have overtaken communicable disease as the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in Nigeria (Bartley, 2007). The changing disease pattern has been traditionally attributed to recent advance in medicine resulting in the development of drugs and vaccines for the effective control of communicable diseases, other factors during the transition include change in diets, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption and inadequate exercise Chukwuonye (2013). There is also a rural to urban migration as well as fatal malnutrition which predispose individuals to development of non-communicable disease in adulthood.

Among these non-communicable disease is obesity. Obesity is one of the leading preventable causes of death worldwide. Obesity has become an emerging urban health concerns globally. This means that people’s weights are becoming so high that they can become dangerous for their normal lives. The main causes of excess weight in youth are similar to those in adults, including individual causes such as behavior and genetics (Branca et al., 2007).

It has been recognized as a major public health problem because of the risk factors and complications which include coronary heart disease, cancer, hypertension, stroke, and diabetes mellitus. While obesity represents a state of excess storage of body fat, overweight is defined as an excess body weight for height (Bartley, 2007). A certain amount of body fat is necessary for heat insulation, shock absorption and other functions. But when it becomes excessive or much greater that what is considered healthy, it is called obesity. When one has excess body fat he/she also has excess body weight. Therefore a person is said to be obese when he/she has too much body fat for his/her height and sex.

There is little evidence to support the commonly expressed view that some obese/ overweight people eat little, yet gain weight, what has been found however is that some obese people under-report how much food they eat compare to those of normal weight.

More than 30 million overweight children are living in development countries and 10 million in developed countries (Sturm, 2008).

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According to specialist at the first international obesity conference in African, obesity rates are rising rapidly. Many of the 300 million overweight adults across the world are suffering from weight disorder. Obesity in the developing countries has created a double disease burden for Africa for instance that is still struggling to overcome under nutrition.

Childhood and adolescent overweight and obesity are already presenting massive problems in developing countries the growing fast industry is contributing to rising obesity level in Africa, also the spread of HIV/AIDS discourage people from losing weight. As a result of people do not want to lose weight incase others think they are HIV positive.

Childhood obesity is the result of eating too many calories and not getting enough physical activity. Children who are obese are at higher risk of becoming obese adult.

It is not the degree of excess fat that is important but also its distribution in the body that determines the health risk associated with the condition. The lower body (gynaecord) Pear shaped figure obesity more common in females and the upper body (android) apple shaped obesity more common in males are two forms of obesity. The individual with apple shaped figure tend to have a higher risk of diabetes than those with a pear shaped body (CDC, 2010).

The growing fast food industry since 2002 became very popular in Nigeria and started receiving high level of patronage especially in cities and towns. This has contributed to the rising level of obesity in Nigeria and Africa at large.

In Nigeria, there has not been enough data on the death toll of obesity among the people, physical observation show that there has been incessant records and stories of sudden collapses and death of people “standing up” or eating only to die or “died from sleep etc. these are most often attributed to cardiac arrest (from possible atherosclerosis), hypertension and obesity etc.

The global obesity problem from infectious disease and huger to chronic disease leading to the co-existence of under nutrition and over nutrition which  Steun et al., (2005) referred to as the “double burden of disease” Owa and Adeju Yigbe (1997) found that 18% of children 5-15years from a relatively privilege section of the Nigeria society were obese.

Populations living on the pacific and Indian Ocean Island have the highest prevalence of obesity in the world. With respect to global childhood obesity. There are at least 20 million children under 5 that are overweight or that can become obese if their parents do not take necessary measure according to Onuoha (2013). Mei et al., noted increase in the prevalence of overweight in children of all age’s racial and ethnic groups. The changes are greater for older pre-school children. There are approximately 350 million obese people (BMI > 30.0) and over 1 million overweight people (BMI)>25) in the world (Onuoha 2014).

Shrivastava (2013) estimated that at least 2.8 million adults die each year as a result of being overweight or obese in Tamil Nadu India. In addition 44% of the diabetes burden, 23% of the Ischemic heart diseases are attributed to overweight and obesity, he maintained. In 2011, more 40 million children underage of five were overweight.

Also Popkin and Godon Larsen (2004) found a profound global shift in obesity. More than 30% of population in Latin American the Caribbean’s, the Middle East and North America is overweight and it has been rated as the number Two Killer in the United States (Gorbon et al., 2002).

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The medical costs related to overweight and obesity are simply staggering. The medical costs are enormous and involve direct and indirect costs.

According to statistics back in 1995, the direct economic costs of dealing with excess body fat in the U.S was 899.2million dollars, indirect cost (lost wages due to sickness or disability) amounted to another 847.6million dollars. Ubani (2013), in 2009 hospitalization of children/youth with obesity related illness was 125.9 billion dollars and in 2005 it was 237.6 billion dollars.

These costs continue to sky rocket, the direct medical costs usually include preventive, diagnostic and treatment services related to obesity. The indirect costs are related to morbidity and mortality costs. Morbidity costs are defined as the value of income lost from decreased productivity absenteeism restricted activity and hospital admission days. The mortality costs are the value of future income lost by the premature death of obese patients (Eyton et al., 2007).

In Nigeria there are no documented estimates from the available literature, however, the cost may be greater than that of the U.S considering the vogue and increasing changes in lifestyle we have indulged in which includes high consumption of synthetic nodules fruits and juice with preservatives, consumption of high caloric diets like snacks and other fast foods, sugary drink and so on. To combat the menacing effects of being overweight or obese in Nigeria, there is a need for our adolescent to have knowledge of the risk factors of obesity to which they are exposed and to address them approximately. The premise is that knowledge as described by Dean and Park (2006) is a critical component of behavioral changes. Thus a healthy youth today automatically translate to be a healthy adult workforce.

Home and school environment is undoubted the most important setting in relation to shaping children’s eating and physical activity but surprisingly little is known about the specific home add school influences although some risk factors are not readily amenable to intervention e.g Genetic or familiar history of obesity could be prevented through avoiding certain behaviors is well accepted. Schools can create environment supportive of student effort to eat healthy and be active (Baird, 1999).

Curbing the global obesity epidemic requires a population based multi sectoral, multi disciplinary and culturally relevant approach. Individual responsibility can be assessed collectively only where people have access to a healthy lifestyle and are supported to make healthy choices in our society characterized environment that promote unhealthy food marketing and promotion.

This necessitates serious attention from those who are involved in designing health programs at the federal state and local government levels.

This study assessed the knowledge of risk factors obesity among final year students in command day secondary school Enugu.

1.1     Statement of the problem  

Obesity is a common problem nowadays. Most developing countries, Nigeria inclusive are experiencing a nutritional transition, the displacement of traditions diets with food high in saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol transport media, communication devices and an increase in sedentary lifestyle (Duncan et al., 2011) despite this trends our understanding of obesity is limited.

According to WHO (2004), over nutrition is an emerging problem in segments of sub Sahara African society, particularly where lifestyle become urbanized and westernized and data have accumulated on the adverse health effects of obesity in developed and developing nations. Increased risk for diabetes, dyslipidemia. Coronary heart disease arthrosclerosis hypertension. High blood cholesterol concentration, stroke, certain cancers and arthritis have been reported to be associated with obesity.

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Other co-morbidities are also associated with childhood obesity. These include orthopedic problem such as Blount’s disease, skin fungal infections, psychological and behavioral problems (Hanley, 2002).

In recent years, multiple factors such as rapid urbanization continually decreasing number of play ground, increasing, purchasing power and easy access to new technological devices such as hand held computer toys probably have led to less physical activity and more sedentary activity and thereby have attributed to an emerging overweight and obesity problem among young children in urban setting especially among affluent families.

Although much effort has been devoted to educating the public about obesity through various forms of media, it’s not known how much the public, especially adolescents, secondary school students actually knows about the risk factors associated with obesity (Hannigan, 1995).

The researcher being anxious about this decided to survey the knowledge of command day secondary school students on the risk factors of obesity.                                                        

1.2     Objectives of the study

The general objective of this study is to assess the level of the knowledge of the risk factors of obesity among Secondary School Students in Enugu State. While the Specific Objectives are as follow:

  1. To determines socio-economic characteristic of the secondary school children.
  2. To access their knowledge of the dietary practices associated with increased risk of obesity.
  3. To access their knowledge of lifestyle behaviors associated with increased risk of obesity.
  4. To assess the opinion of the students pertaining to obesity, its diagnosis and management.
  5. To assess the knowledge of the respondents regarding the prevention of obesity.
  6. To assess their BMI body mass indices.
    • Significance of the study                                                                                                

The study is undertaken to determine the knowledge of risk factor of obesity among command day secondary school students. It is hoped;

  1. That the findings of this study will provide a basis for intervention for students, calls for the design of educational programs that increase and enhance the level of student’s knowledge of risk factors of obesity and the need for development of healthier lifestyle in school and home.
  2. That the findings will help secondary school managements especially that of command day secondary school to incorporate effective public health messages on obesity and its risk factors into the health education strategies and manage its risk population since with physical activity and healthy eating may help improve academic achievements also to monitor the activities of food vendors in the school premises.
  3. Since there has been no research carried out in Europe in this field, the researcher hopes that this attempt will provide useful data for subsequent researchers who might wish to carry out similar investigation among this group in other communities.

    Pages:  68

    Category: Project

    Format:  Word & PDF        

    Chapters: 1-5                                 

    Material contains Table of Content, Abstract and References.



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