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Product Code: 00006641

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The aim of the study was to examine the dietary habits and nutritional status of artisan adolescent girls in Umuahia North Local Government Area, Abia State. Specifically, the study sought to determine the socio-economic characteristics of artisan adolescent girls; assess the dietary habits of artisan adolescent girls in Umuahia; ascertain their nutritional status using waist- hip- ratio and mid- upper arm circumference and correlate their socio-economic characteristics with their nutritional status. A cross-sectional study design was used for the study. Those who were eligible for inclusion into this cross-sectional study were artisan adolescent girls aged 10-19 years drawn from three skill acquisition centers in Umuahia North LGA. The sample size of 303 was obtained and 101 were selected from each of the three centres. A structured questionnaire was used to solicit information on the girls’ socio-demographic characteristics and dietary habits. The data generated was analyzed using descriptive statistics such as percentages and frequencies. Pearson correlation analysis was used to determine the relationship between the socio-economic characteristics with their nutritional status. The results revealed that majority of the respondent’s skipped meals. Of those who skipped meals, majority (42%) skipped breakfast and the reason for skipping meals by most (33%) of the respondents was to avoid sleeping. Apparently, majority of artisan adolescent girls in Umuahia had normal weight of 82%, normal height of 94%. In Table 4.5 a higher proportion of (61%) of late adolescents had normal weight compared to the normal weight of early adolescents (33%).The study revealed that there is relationship between socio-economic characteristics of respondents and nutritional status especially in education, pocket money, amount of money spent per week household size. Based on the findings of the study, it was recommended among others that parents as part of their responsibilities should provide in their wards chop-box diversified foods of good nutritional value and pocket money to enhance their nutritional well-being.


Title Page i
Certification ii
Dedication iii
Acknowledgements iv
Table of Contents v
List of Tables vii
Abstract viii

1.1 Background of study 1
1.2 Statement of the Problem 5
1.3 Objectives of the Study 7
1.3.1 General Objective of the Study 7
1.3.2 Specific Objective of the Study 7
1.4 Significance of the Study 8

2.1 Conceptual Framework 9
2.1.1 Concept of  Adolescents 9
2.1.2 Growth during the Period of Adolescence  12
2.2 Nutrition  13
2.2.1 Malnutrition 14
2.2.2    Nutritional Needs during Adolescence  17
2.2.3. Macronutrient Requirement of Adolescent Girls  19
2.2.4 Micronutrient Requirements of Adolescent Girls 22
2.2.5 Methods to be used assessing the nutritional status of artisan 
adolescent girls 26
2.2.6 Factors Contributing to Nutritional Problem of Adolescent Girls  34
2.3 Dietary Habits of Adolescent Girls  39
2.3.1 Meal skipping habits of adolescent girls  40
2.3.2 Snacking habits of adolescent girls 41
2.3.3 Factors to be kept in mind while planning diets  42
2.3.4 Effects of Unhealthy Dietary Habits among Artisan Adolescent 
Girls  43
2.3.5 Methods to Determine Dietary Habits and Socio-Demographic
 Information 45

3.1 Study Design 49
3.2 Area of Study 49
3.3 Population of the Study 49
3.4 Sampling and Sampling Technique 50
3.4.1 Sample Size 50
3.4.2 Sampling Procedure 51
3.5 Preliminary Activities 51
3.5.1 Preliminary visits 51
3.5.2 Training of Research Assistants 52
3.5.3 Written Consent 52
3.6 Data Collection 52
3.6.1 Socio-Demographic Characteristics 52
3.6.2 Questionnaire Administration 52
3.6.3    Anthropometric Measurement 53
3.6.4 Dietary Habits Assessment 54
3.7 Data Analysis 55
3.8 Statistical Analysis 55

4.1 Socio-Economic Characteristics 56
4.2 Dietary Habits of Artisan Adolescent Girls in Umuahia 59
4.3 Food Consumption Pattern 61
4.4 Nutritional Status Using Body Mass Index, 
Waist- Hip- Ratio and Mid- Upper Arm Circumference 67
4.5 Relationship between Socio-Economic status, dietary habit 
and Nutritional Status 69

5.1 Conclusion 73
5.2 Recommendations 73


Table 4.1a: Socio-economic characteristics of the Artisan Adolescent Girls 57

Table 4.1b parents socio-demographic characteristics of the artisan adolescent girls 58

Table 4.2 Dietary Habits of Artisan Adolescent Girls in Umuahia 60

Table 4.3a Food Consumption Pattern of roots and tuber crops by Artisan Adolescent Girls in Umuahia 62

Table 4.3b Food Consumption Pattern of legumes by Artisan 
Adolescent Girls in Umuahia 63

Table 4.3c Food Consumption Pattern of vegetables by Artisan 
Adolescent Girls in Umuahia 63

Table 4.3d Food Consumption Pattern of fruits by Artisan 
Adolescent Girls in Umuahia 64

Table 4.3e Food Consumption Pattern of fat and oil by Artisan 
Adolescent Girls in Umuahia 64

Table 4.3f Food Consumption Pattern of milk group by Artisan 
Adolescent Girls in Umuahia 64

Table 4.3g Food Consumption Pattern of drinks and beverages by Artisan Adolescent Girls in Umuahia 65

Table 4.3h Food Consumption Pattern of cereals by Artisan 
Adolescent Girls in Umuahia 65

Table 4.3i Food Consumption Pattern for meat group by Artisan 
Adolescent Girls in Umuahia 66

Table 4.4 Anthropometric measurement of the artisan adolescent girls in Umuahia 68

Table 4.5 Pearson correlation coefficient showing the relationship between socio-economic characteristics of respondents and nutritional status 71


Food is a major determinant of human health. Healthful living is an important part of family life and depends on good nutrition (Compton, 2009). Food is anything either solid or liquid possessing a chemical composition which enables it when swallowed to do one or more of the following; provide the body with materials from which it can produce heat or other forms of energy, provide materials for growth, maintenance, repair or reproduction. Olusanya (2010) opined that food consumption is act of taking food available in response to the physiological demands of the individuals.

Dietary habits are actually the food choices preferred by persons in their daily life (Akanle, 2009). A healthy dietary habit helps an individual to stay fit and well throughout his life. Healthy diet includes fruits, vegetables, cereals, water, low fat dairy products, among others(Akanle, 2009).Dietary habits are the habitual decisions an individual or culture makes when choosing what foods to eat. The word diet often implies the use of specific intake of nutrition for health or weight-management reasons (Deka et al.,2015). Although humans are omnivores, each culture and each person holds some food preferences or some food taboos. This may be due to personal tastes or ethical reasons. Individual dietary choices may be more or less healthy. Dietary habits and choices play a significant role in the quality of life, health and longevity (Yunusa and Ezeanyika, 2013). Dietary habits and choice of food influences nutrient and energy consumption and are developed over a period especially during adolescence (Yunusa and Ezeanyika, 2013). Nutritional problems among adolescents can arise from the result of dietary inadequacies, principally from poor dietary choices, which may be related to physiologic, socioeconomic and psychological factors, in the presence of additional nutritional demands imposed by growth sprout during adolescence (Stang and Stotmeister 2017). 

Adolescence is derived from a Latin word, “adolescence”, meaning “to grow up” a transitional stage of physical and psychological human development. According to the World Health Organization (WHO)(2013) adolescence is a person between 10-19 years of age. According to Ezeh (2008) adolescents is a transitional period between childhood and adulthood (maturity). It is a time in a person’s life when he or she develops from a child into an adult. This period of development poses a lot of problems such as moodiness, rebellion, sad loss of childhood innocence, loss of interest in parental upbringing to the young adult, the home, the school and the entire society (Ezeh, 2008). Adolescence is also a time when risks of sexual and other forms of abuse, exploitation and violence are high, and when the drive for autonomy and self-definition often means a reduced reliance on parents and other adults as trusted sources of guidance and support (Aggleton, et al., 2010). Major pubertal changes and biological changes include changes to sex organ, height, weight and muscular mass, major changes in the brain structure and organization. Adolescence referred to transitory period the individual intensively passes through from childhood to adulthood (Edwins, 2013). This implies that adolescence is that period of metamorphosis when an individual is created out of a child. Markin (2012) asserted that it is used to denote that time in teens when an individual approaches the peak of physical, psychological, intellectual, emotional and social development. This is a stage of rapid growth and covers almost a span of ten years. Individual variation is also great in this group. A number of physical changes and mental changes occur in this period of life.

Nutrition is the science of food values. It is relatively a new science, which was evolved from chemistry and physiology. The effect of food in our body is explained in nutrition. In other words, nutrition is defined as food at work in the body. According to Adekunle (2009) nutrition is defined as “the science of foods, the nutrients and other substances their action, interaction, and balance in relationship to health and diseases, the process by which the organism ingests, digests, absorbs, transport and utilizes nutrients and dispose off their end products, in addition nutrition must be concerned with the social, economic, cultural and psychological implication of food and eating.”In the context of this study, nutrients are defined as the constituents of food, which perform important functions in our body. If these nutrients are not present in our food in sufficient amount, the result is ill health. Important nutrients include carbohydrates, proteins lipids, vitamins, minerals, and water. Nutrition status is defined as the extent to which a customary diet meets the body’s requirement. In other words, it signifies the condition of body after the consumption of food(Joan, 2009). It can be assessed by dietary survey, arthropometry, clinical and laboratory investigations. Nutrition is a major intrauterine environmental factor that alters expression of the foetal genome and may have lifelong consequences (Guoyao, et al., 2012).

Nutritional status during adolescence plays an important role in human lifecycle (Stang, 2008). The global economic development and urbanization has resulted in great changes in the weight status of adolescents worldwide (Harduset al., 2009).  A decreasing trend in the prevalence of under-nutrition has been identified in developing countries. On the other hand, an increasing shift towards higher rates of overweight and obesity among adolescents has been reported in developed and developing countries (Lob-Corzilius, et al.,2007).Good nutritional status therefore can be maintained by artisan adolescent girls in Umuahia North Local Government Area, Abia State by consuming adequate quantity and quality of micro and macronutrients such as carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamins and minerals and water.

Owing to sudden and special growth tacking place in this phase, the nutritional requirements also increase tremendously compared to preceding years of growth. During this phase, diet should provide not only sufficient calories but also essential elements and nutrients such as protein, vitamins and minerals required for growth. Nutritional and physical growth during adolescence creates increased demands of energy and nutrients such as vitamin B6, B9, B12, A, and vitamin C, Thiamine and riboflavin play essential roles in energy metabolism so are important in this cycle (Heald et al., 2009).Few studies have investigated the relationship between socio-demographic factors and health and nutrition in Abia state, particularly in Umuahia North L.G.A. However, none of these scholars examined the dietary habits and nutritional status of artisan adolescent girls in the study area. This study will help to fill this knowledge gap.

Adolescents are tomorrow’s adult population, and their health and well-being are crucial. Yet, interest in the health of adolescents is relatively recent, and a focus on their nutrition even more so. Today, in Nigeria many adolescent girls engage in various activities that take them away from home. Some of them trade at the market places. Some engage in hawking in the streets, others drop-out of school and work as low income earners in various establishments while others are apprentices in different skill areas such as motor mechanic, tailoring, carpentry et cetera. But majority of the young adults still strive to continue formal education, while engaged in paid employment. In all the situations where adolescent girls find themselves, they eat whatever food is available for consumption. They acquire various food consumption practices, which often have unhealthful implications.

The foods are often "street foods" (which are otherwise called fast foods). Such foods are usually of poor quality. Some street foods are unhygienically prepared. Another problem inherent in consumption of food, however, may be that the individual is not eating the required dietary allowance meant for the physiological age-group, sex and type of vocation the individual young adult consumer is engaged in. Specifically, thinness, stunting and anemia have been observed in the artisan adolescents girls in Umuahia North Local government Area Abia State.

Poor nutrition knowledge leads to superstition and misconceptions about food requirements and nutritive value of food, a very common condition in developing countries of the world. Due to their level of poverty, poor educational background, and nature of their work, the researcher observed that girls in the study area fed more or less on foods such as dried bread, roasted or boiled yam with little or no oil, occasionally and ‘foo-foo’ with watery type soup devoid of vegetable in the midst of work. In other words, their feeding is predominantly starchy foods. In view of these problems and the high poverty level in Nigeria, assessing the physical growth and nutritional status of Nigerian adolescents, dwelling in a low income semi-urban town (where majority of Nigerians live) is important as it would provide data that may help in prevention, intervention and rehabilitation programmes. Hence, all these problems of improper food consumption by artisan adolescent girls have been caused by various socio-cultural and psycho-political variables in the environment and such have implications for research. It is against this background that this study will seek to examine the dietary habits and nutritional status of artisan adolescent girls in Umuahia North Local Government Area, Abia State. It is believed that this would in turn provide a foundation for designing interventions that would be effective in improving their nutritional status.

1.3.1 General Objective of the Study
The general objective of the study was to examine the dietary habits and nutritional status of artisan adolescent girls in Umuahia North Local Government Area, Abia State.

1.3.2 Specific Objectives of The Study
Specific objectives of the study are to: 

1. Determine the socio-economic characteristics of artisan adolescent girls;

2. Assess the dietary habits of artisan adolescent girls in Umuahia;

3. Ascertain their nutritional status using waist- hip- ratio and mid- upper arm circumference; 

4. Correlate their socio-economic characteristics with their nutritional status.

The findings of the study will be beneficial to students, nurses, doctors, nutritionists and policy makers on the best way to care for adolescent girls. 

It will help the students to develop interest in the subject matter. Students of Human Nutrition and other related fields of study will be motivated by the result of this study to engage more on studies pertaining to Dietary habit and nutritional status.

The findings of the study will enable young adults to be more conscious of their food intakes in order to eat adequate diet regularly. The study will be of benefit to the family budget planners to make adequate provision for feeding the adolescent girls in the families.

Nutritionists and health practitioners will use the result of this study to design nutrition education packages for mothers and would be mothers on the importance of promoting optimal nutrient intake so as to ensure optimal foetal development, which will in turn reduce the risk of chronic diseases in adults. 

The results of this study could help policy makers review existing and future policies and programmes regarding maternal and child health. It will be an “eye opener” to health workers at the clinics who concentrate more on treatment of diseases with drugs than relating the disease condition to the individuals’ nutritional state. 

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