Globally, malnutrition among adolescents is a major public health concern. Despite the emergence of a number of advancements in areas of health and nutrition services in developing countries including Ethiopia, nutritional status of adolescents is not yet commonly included in health and nutrition surveys and an up-to-date overview of their nutritional status across the world is not available. Even the existing studies conducted on nutritional status of adolescents in Ethiopia and other parts of the world overlooked the pastoral and agro-pastoral area contexts. Thus, the objective of this study was to assess nutritional status and associated factors among adolescents of pastoral and agro-pastoral communities. Comparative cross-sectional study was conducted at Mieso Woreda on 655 primary school adolescents selected by multistage random sampling. Data were collected by face-to-face interview using pre-tested structured questionnaire and anthropometric measurements. Bivariate and multivariate binary logistic regressions were conducted to identify independent predictors of stunting and thinness (wasting). The overall magnitude of stunting and thinness were 11.5 and 22.9%. The magnitude of stunting was higher in agro-pastoral (14.5%; 95%CI: 10.7-18.3%) than pastoral (8.3%; 95%CI: 5.3-11.3%) communities. Meanwhile the magnitude of thinness was higher in pastoral (26.2%; 95%CI: 21.4-31.0%) than agro-pastoral (19.6%; 95%CI: 15.3-23.9%) community. Stunting was significantly associated with place of residence, sex, age, family size, source of drinking water, wealth tertiles and child food insecurity. Meanwhile thinness was significantly associated with family size, the source of drinking water, availability of latrine, household wealth tertiles, washing hands with soap after toilet, diarrheal illness and child food insecurity. The study revealed significantly higher magnitude of stunting in agro-pastoral communities and higher magnitude of thinness in pastoral communities though not significant. Interventions should focus on factors identified in this study to reduce magnitude of malnutrition among adolescents.
Key words: Stunting, wasting, school adolescents, pastoralist, agro-pastoralist, Somali.
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