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BRIEF RESEARCH ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 66  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 193-195  

Influence of socioeconomic factors on the nutritional status of pupils of 5 to 11 in rural areas in cameroon: Case of the Nyambaka municipality in the Adamawa region


1 MPH & MSc, Department of Public Health, School of Health Science, Kesmonds International University, Thika, Kenya; MSc, Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Faculty of Health Science, University of Buea, Buea; MPH & MSc, Department of Health, NGO Action for the Promotion of Health including the Production and the Environment, Ngaoundere, Cameroon
2 MSc, Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Faculty of Health Science, University of Buea, Buea; MSc, NGO, Department of regulation and regulatory, National Radiation Protection Agency, Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation, Yaounde, Cameroon
3 MSc, Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Faculty of Health Science, University of Buea, Buea, Cameroon; MSc, Department of Public Health, School of Health Science, University and Strategic Institute of the Estuary, Yaounde, Cameroon
4 MPH & MSc, Department of Health, NGO Action for the Promotion of Health including the Production and the Environment, Ngaoundere, Cameroon
5 MSc, Department of Laboratory analysis, Institute of Medical Research and Medicinal Plants, Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation, Yaounde, Cameroon

Date of Submission11-Jul-2021
Date of Decision13-Dec-2021
Date of Acceptance14-Dec-2021
Date of Web Publication12-Jul-2022

Correspondence Address:
Mbarawa Marat Kofia Ibrahim
04 Baladji II Street, 592, Ngaoundere
Cameroon
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijph.ijph_1516_21

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   Abstract 


Malnutrition greatly increases the risk of infant mortality and vulnerability to various diseases later in the long run. It has been shown that children's malnutrition is the result of low household income. Rural areas in Cameroon are mainly made up of poor families. This guided the present research to analyze some socioeconomic factors and their impact on the nutritional status of pupils. Using a simple random sampling technique, 300 pupils were recruited. About 66.33% of pupils were from poor families. Obesity was more prevalent in the category of rich pupils (09.52%) compared to poor (06.53%). The height and weight of pupils studied were lower than the reference (P < 0.001). This study carried out in a single council is proven to be limited for a better understanding of the epidemiology of malnutrition among students, and large-scale studies would be adequate to better prevent and control malnutrition in rural areas.

Keywords: Cameroon, children, nutrition, primary school, socioeconomic level


How to cite this article:
Ibrahim MM, Loubou ML, Luc-Aime KS, Aminou M, Marcellin NG. Influence of socioeconomic factors on the nutritional status of pupils of 5 to 11 in rural areas in cameroon: Case of the Nyambaka municipality in the Adamawa region. Indian J Public Health 2022;66:193-5

How to cite this URL:
Ibrahim MM, Loubou ML, Luc-Aime KS, Aminou M, Marcellin NG. Influence of socioeconomic factors on the nutritional status of pupils of 5 to 11 in rural areas in cameroon: Case of the Nyambaka municipality in the Adamawa region. Indian J Public Health [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Aug 18];66:193-5. Available from: https://www.ijph.in/text.asp?2022/66/2/193/350645



Nutritionally balanced diet is essential to ensure normal growth and development in children. Children from households with low-socioeconomic status were more likely to be underweight than children from households with medium to higher socioeconomic status.[1] Low level of nutrition interferes with the physical and mental growth of children. Malnutrition is one of the most important global health problems, affecting large numbers of children in developing countries.[2] Malnutrition and undernutrition significantly address physical, physiological, and mental suffering and constitute a clear violation of the human rights of children. It greatly increases the risk of infant mortality and vulnerability to various diseases later in the long run.[3] In South Africa, a study found that malnutrition of children is the result of low household income.[4] In Africa, globally, the prevalence of malnutrition fell from 24.5% in 2000 to 18.2% in 2014.[5] The prevalence of malnutrition in the three regions of the North part of Cameroon is 40.2% and impacts the performance of these population, especially pupils.[6] These regions count among the four poor and vulnerable regions of Cameroon, and the Adamawa is where poverty is estimated around 79% in the population.[7] These guided the present research to analyze some socioeconomic factors and their impact on the nutritional status of pupils.

This study was carried out in 06 rural primary schools located in Nyambaka Council in the Adamawa Region of Cameroon. It targeted pupils aged 5–11 years old. Before the enrolment of participants, all stages of the study were explained to pupils, teachers, and parents by our investigators. Written informed consent was obtained from all parents who agreed to have their children participate in the study. Simple random sampling technique was used to select participants and ensure that every student has the same chance to be selected. Three hundred (300) pupils finally participated. Data were collected from September 2019 to December 2019. Families were categorized as poor when the annual household expenses are <148,000 african financial community (CFA) Francs per year; average when annual expenses are between 148,000 and 296,000 CFA Francs per year and rich when annual expenses are over 296,000 CFA Francs per year. The criterion defined to assess nutritional status in this study was the body mass index (BMI) for age compared to the growth curve of the reference population of the National Institute of Statistics in the Adamawa Region of Cameroon.[7] Different body dimensions of the subjects were taken using scales, measuring boards, and tape measures. All data were taken with the mean of three consecutive trials. BMI was used to assess underweight, overweight, risk of overweight, and obesity. Data analysis was performed using anEmergency Nutrition Assessment (ENA) software version 3 and the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 22 software package was developped by International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) in Armonk, New-York State, United States of America (USA). software package and the significance test used was Chi-square.

Approval was obtained from school authorities before the start of the research. Teachers, pupils, and parents were all informed of the scope and extent of the investigation. All the pupils and their parents received explanations of the objectives of the study by the investigators. Verbal consents were obtained from pupils who agreed to participate in the study. Parents have signed written consents to allow their children to participate. Only essential personal and sensitive data were collected during the research. Data collected during the research were used strictly within the framework of the study and have not been shared with third parties. The data have been protected in an Excel file with a password. The computer used for data storage was also protected by a password to prevent any stranger from having access to the data.

Among the 300 pupils recruited, 160 were girls (53.33%) and 140 were boys (46.66%). One hundred and ninety-nine (66.33%) pupils came from poor families, 80 (26.66%) from average families, and 21 (07.01%) from rich families. The average monthly expenditure per capita for families was 71,541 CFA Francs. It emerges from this research that heads of households with a profession in the agropastoral sector represent 159, equal to more than half of the participants (53.00%), followed by traders with 106 people (35.53%), private-sector workers with 16 (05.33%), other workers with 11 people (03.66%), and finally public service workers with 08 (02.66%). In the classification of households by socioeconomic level, 40.33% are poor from the agropastoral sector. The distribution of participants in different socioeconomic levels according to the gender shows us that, percentage of poor girls in the group of girls was higher (68.12%) compared to the percentage of poor boys in the group of boys (64.28%).

[Table 1] presents the distribution of the different levels of BMI in the three socioeconomic levels of families.
Table 1: Level of body mass index for age according to the socioeconomic status of the pupil's family

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Among pupils from rich families, only 05 (23.80%) were underweight, whereas 08 (38.09%) were at risk of overweight, and 2 (09.52%) were obese. Pupils from average families presented a high percentage (47.50%) of those with satisfactory nutritional status. Among pupils from poor families, 45 (22.61%) were underweight, whereas 35 (17.58%) were at risk of overweight, and 13 (06.53%) were obese. It was also found that in the group of pupils from poor families, underweight girls had a higher percentage (08.54%) than boys of the same level (09.04%).

From [Table 2], the weight and BMI of pupils in Nyambaka were compared to those of the entire Adamawa region considered reference. From the table, it was observed that height and weight were lower in pupils in the rural areas studied than in the reference (P < 0.001). BMI is slightly lower in pupils studied than the reference (P = 0.091; P = 0.125).
Table 2: Comparison of the different anthropometric dimensions of the children studied and the children of the regional reference

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This study assessed the impact of some socioeconomic status on the nutritional status of pupils aged 5–11 years old attending primary schools in rural areas of the Adamawa region of Cameroon. The results show that in the rural area of Adamawa, more than half (66.33%) of pupils come from poor families. Surveys have estimated around 79%, the percentage of poverty in rural areas in the Adamawa and our findings are not closer to the reality of the environment.[7] Relatively, it is lacking 13% of gap between the representativeness of poor in the rural community and their representativeness in rural school and indicates that a relative percentage of children from poor families do still not going to school. The percentage of poor girls in the girls' group was elevated compared to the percentage of poor boys in the boys' groups. It is showing that more poor parents are allowing their girls go to school and this indicates that behaviors against the education of girls are changing in the North part of Cameroon. Concerning nutritional status, it was clearly revealed that the percentage of pupils from rich families with a high index of BMI was significantly higher (P < 0.001) compared to pupils from poor families and this correlates with a study where significant obesity was observed in a group of pupils coming from rich families.[8] However, the population of pupils studied was not sufficient to draw a definitive conclusion. The association between different socioeconomic determinants and child nutrition status has been reported in several studies.[1],[3],[5],[8] It was shown that malnutrition of children is associated with a number of socioeconomic and environmental determinants such as poverty, parental education, parental occupation, and access to health-care services.[3],[8] The level of education of parents indirectly influences the nutritional status of children because, as reported Haddad et al., higher level of education of parents offers opportunities for them to get jobs with good monthly remuneration and by this, participate in ameliorate the opportunities for parents to provide to their children a better quality of food necessary to prevent malnutrition.[9] From the above discussion, it is necessary to discuss some strategies needed to improve the nutritional status of these children. Malnourished children are more likely to have functional impairment in adulthood, leading to a reduction in productive life and thus affecting the overall economic productivity of the society.[10]

This study has shown the effect of some socioeconomic levels of households on the nutritional status of students. The strong prevention of malnutrition in this area is a strong signal in favor of the implementation of rapid actions to fight against malnutrition in rural areas and the importance of supporting children. This study which has been carried out in a single council is proven to be limited for a better understanding of the epidemiology of malnutrition among students, and large-scale studies would be adequate to better prevent and control malnutrition in rural areas.

Acknowledgment

This study was carried out with the remarkable support of the Town Hall of Nyambaka, The Synergy for Health Surveillance in Ngaoundere, officials of the various targeted primary schools as well as pupils and parents of enrolled pupils. We would like to point out to them all our sincere thanks and gratitude.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
   References Top

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Alaofè H, Asaolu I. Maternal and child nutrition status in rural communities of Kalalé District, Benin: The relationship and risk factors. Food Nutr Bull 2019;40:56-70.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
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Mukherjee R, Chaturvedi S, Bhalwar R, Determinants of Nutritional Status of School Children. Armed Force Medical Journal of India 2008 64: 227231.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
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Schwinger C, Golden MH, Grellety E, Roberfroid D, Guesdon B. Severe acute malnutrition and mortality in children in the community: Comparison of indicators in a multi-country pooled analysis. PLoS One 2019;14:e0219745.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
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Modjadji P, Madiba S. The double burden of malnutrition in a rural health and demographic surveillance system site in South Africa: A study of primary schoolchildren and their mothers. BMC Public Health 2019;19:1087.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
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Onyango AW, Jean-Baptiste J, Samburu B, Mahlangu TL. Regional overview on the double burden of malnutrition and examples of program and policy responses: African region. Ann Nutr Metab 2019;75:127-30.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
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Tabi ES, Cumber SN, Juma KO, Ngoh EA, Akum EA, Eyong EM. A cross-sectional survey on the prevalence of anaemia and malnutrition in primary school children in the Tiko Health District, Cameroon. Pan Afr Med J 2019;32:111.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
National Institute of Statistics. Multiple Indicator and Demographic Health Survey. Cameroon Natinoal Institute of Statistics. Yaoundé, Cameroon 2011. 2012. p 20.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
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Lahiru SG, Devika L, Samath DD, Galgamuwa GL. Nutritional status and correlated socio-economic factors among preschool and school children in plantation communities, Sri Lanka. BMC Public Health 2017;17:377-88.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Haddad L, Alderman H, Appleton S, Song L, Yohannes Y. Reducing child malnutrition: How far does income growth take us? World Bank Econ Rev 2003;17:107-31.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Hock RS, Bryce CP, Waber DP, McCuskee S, Fitzmaurice GM, Henderson DC, et al. Relationship between infant malnutrition and childhood maltreatment in a Barbados lifespan cohort. Vulnerable Child Youth Stud 2017;12:304-13.  Back to cited text no. 10
    



 
 
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