Healthy eating during adolescence is a fundamental prerequisite for optimal physical growth, psychosocial and cognitive development and prevention of diet-related chronic diseases. This study assessed the dietary habit, nutritional status and associated factors among adolescents in Tamale metropolis, Ghana. An analytical cross-sectional survey of 402 adolescents was used in this study. Semi structured questionnaire was used to solicit information on the adolescents’ socio-demographic characteristics and dietary practices. Descriptive statistics and regression analysis were used to summarize the data and to assess factors associated with the adolescent’s dietary habits and nutritional status. Meal skipping (87.8%), particularly breakfast was observed as the main unhealthy eating habit among adolescents in the Tamale metropolis. The prevalence of underweight, overweight and obesity as observed among adolescents were 26.1, 5.2, and 0.7%, respectively. Adolescents whose caregivers/parents are of low socio-economic status were 27% less likely to practice unhealthy dietary habits compared to those whose parents/caregivers are of high socio-economic status (OR=0.73; 95%CI: 0.54-0.99; P=0.04). The risk of adolescents being underweight as against normal in males was 2.46 times higher (RRR=2.46; 95% CI: 1.50-4.04; P=0.001) compared to the risk of being underweight in females whereas the risk of being overweight or obese as against normal was 57% lower (RRR=0.43; 95% CI: 0.14-1.36; P=<0.001) in males compared to the risk of being overweight or obese in females. More than quarter of the adolescents were underweight and factors such as unhealthy dietary habits, average socio-economic status, and adolescents whose mothers were unemployed were predictors of underweight.
Key words: Adolescents, dietary habit, nutritional status, overweight, underweight, obesity.
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