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South African Journal of Child Health

versão On-line ISSN 1999-7671
versão impressa ISSN 1994-3032


ULEANYA, N D et al. Pattern and predictors of psychosocial disorders among overweight and obese children in Enugu, Southeast Nigeria. S. Afr. j. child health [online]. 2018, vol.12, n.1, pp.3-9. ISSN 1999-7671.

BACKGROUND. Obesity in children is recognised as a public health problem worldwide. This is due to the high prevalence rate, as well as the associated adverse health and psychosocial effects. Psychosocial disorders negatively impact on children. OBJECTIVES. This study aims to determine the pattern and predictors of psychosocial disorders among overweight and obese children in Enugu, Nigeria. METHODS. A descriptive cross-sectional study among adolescents attending secondary schools in Enugu was conducted. Sampling followed stratified and multi-staged methods. Participants' weight and height were measured and their body mass index (BMI) determined. Questionnaires were also used and the information obtained included psychometric measurements. Data was analysed using SPSS version 19. χ2 and logistic regressions were carried out where a p-value <0.05 was considered significant. RESULTS. The mean age (standard deviation (SD)) of the 200 students included in the study was 12.9 (1.8) years. Most of the subjects suffered from depression (46%) and there was a significant association between anxiety and obesity in females (p=0.03), who were ~3 times more likely to be anxious than boys (OR 2.6; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.78 - 8.36). Low self-esteem was also found to be closely associated with obese girls (p=0.002), who were about 3 times more likely to have a low self-esteem compared with males (OR 2.7; 95% CI 0.95 - 7.55). Obesity was stigmatised (p=0.002) and obese students were almost 5 times more likely to feel stigmatised than overweight students (OR 5.01; 95% CI 1.80 - 13.9). CONCLUSION. Obesity was directly associated with stigma and, while female gender predicts anxiety and low self-esteem, obesity itself was a predictor of stigmatisation among obese children.

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