Nutritional status of 11-12-year-old Jamaican children: coexistence of under- and overnutrition in early adolescence

Public Health Nutr. 2002 Apr;5(2):281-8. doi: 10.1079/PHN2002262.


Objective: To determine the nutritional status of a cohort of 11-12 year olds and ascertain social and demographic factors associated with under- and overweight in early adolescence.

Design: Cross-sectional.

Subjects: Subgroup (n = 1698) of the birth cohort (September-October 1986) of the Jamaican Perinatal Survey enrolled in schools in the Kingston Metropolitan area. One thousand and sixty-three parents or caregivers provided social and demographic information.

Results: Undernutrition and overnutrition are of public health significance among adolescent Jamaican children. Ten per cent of 11-12 year olds had body mass index (BMI) values below the 5th percentile (boys, 10.6%; girls, 7.1%) but this prevalence is relatively low compared with other developing countries. The prevalence of stunting was low (3%). The prevalence of overweight (BMI > or = 85th percentile) (19.3%) was approaching prevalence rates found in the USA. Similar social and demographic variables were associated with thinness and fatness in males. Birth weight predicted overweight in girls.

Conclusions: Under- and overnutrition in early adolescence are important problems in Jamaica. There is a need to address both under- and overnutrition in adolescence in preventive and rehabilitative intervention programmes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Child Nutrition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Jamaica / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors