Journal of Public Health

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 111–118 | Cite as

Nutritional status of school children in eastern Hararghe administrative zone, eastern Ethiopia

  • Habtamu MitikuEmail author
  • Desalegn Admassu
  • Zelalem Teklemariam
  • Fitsum Weldegebreal
  • Abrahm Nigusse
Original Article



This study aimed to assess the nutritional status of school children in eight elementary schools in Eastern Ethiopia.

Subjects and methods

A cross-sectional study was carried out among 1523 schoolchildren. The study subjects’ height and weight were measured via anthropometric measurements, and their nutritional status was assessed using anthropometric indicators of the body mass index for age and height-for-age. The data were analyzed by AnthroPlus software and SPSS version 16.


One thousand five hundred twenty-three schoolchildren whose age ranged from 6 to 18 years participated in the study. The prevalence of stunting was 17.1%, thinness 17.9%, and over-nutrition 5.6% (overweight accounted for 4.4% and obesity 1.2%). Children aged 15–18 years were found to be more stunted than the children aged 6–9 years (AOR = 0.04, 95% CI = 0.02, 0.08) and 10–14 (AOR = 0.25, 95% CI = 0.14, 0.45). Children aged 15–18 years were also significantly thin for age compared with those aged 6–9 years (AOR = 0.31, 95% CI = 0.18, 0.56) and 10–14 (AOR = 0.34, 95% CI = 0.19, 0.59). Children from rural residences were significantly stunted (AOR = 0.37, 95% CI = 0.26, 0.51) and overnurished (AOR = 0.42, 95% CI = 0.25, 0.71) compared with the children from urban areas. Children who lived in urban areas were also significantly thin for age compared with those who lived in rural areas (AOR = 1.42, 95% CI = 1.08, 1.87).


Undernutrition was an important problem among the school children in the study area. Stunting and thinness were significantly increased in the higher age group. Therefore, more effort should be made to improve the nutritional status of children aged 15–18 years in both the rural and urban study areas.


Malnutrition Nutritional status Stunting Thinness School children Anthropometry Eastern Hararghe Ethiopia 



We acknowledge the Haramaya University research and publication office for budget allocation and all the participants for their willingness to participate in this study. We would also like to extend our thanks to each district and town administration health and educational bureau and director, the teachers in each studied school and Ms. Serawit Tamrat and Ms. Meskerem Yeshitla for their unreserved support during data collection and sample processing.

Authors’ contributions

All authors contributed equally to all aspects of this research work and have read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interests

All the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest associated with the publication of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Habtamu Mitiku
    • 1
    Email author
  • Desalegn Admassu
    • 1
  • Zelalem Teklemariam
    • 1
  • Fitsum Weldegebreal
    • 1
  • Abrahm Nigusse
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences, College of Health and Medical SciencesHaramaya UniversityHararEthiopia
  2. 2.School of Pharmacy, College of Health and Medical SciencesHaramaya UniversityHararEthiopia

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