Background: Adolescence is the most important period of life where growth and development are accompanied, leading to increased demand for nutrients which could pose a greater risk of under nutrition. Little emphasis is given to reveal the evidence of level of under nutrition in this age group. So, this study assessed the magnitude of adolescents’ under nutrition and its associated factors among primary and secondary public school in Eastern Tigray, Ethiopia.
Methods: Cross-sectional study design was conducted in April 2013, Tigray, Ethiopia. A sample of 411 primary and secondary adolescent students was selected using two stage stratified cluster sampling technique. The 2007 growth reference was used to assess prevalence of under nutrition. Data were analyzed using SPSS 20 for windows and logistic regression was used to declare the independent predictors considering p-value <0.05 was used as a cutoff point.
Results: The prevalence of stunting, wasting and underweight were 25.5%, 44% and 55% respectively. Stunting, wasting and underweight were more prevalent among males and early adolescents. The most important predictors identified for wasting were early adolescents’ age (AOR=4.68, 95% CI=1.81-12.13), being male (AOR=5.31, 95% CI=1.73-16.32) and menarche (AOR=2.65, 95% CI=1.006-6.978). Adolescent girls who did not experience menarche were 5.5 times more likely to be under weight than those who had experienced menarche (AOR=5.47, 95% CI=2.91- 10.26) none of them were found statistically significant predictors for stunting.
Conclusion: The prevalence of under nutrition among adolescents was higher. Thus, integrated nutritional intervention and related school health services should be done for intervening the under nutrition and adolescent’s health, in general.