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Micronutrient status of female adolescent school dropouts

Authors:

M de Lanerolle-Dias ,

Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, LK
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A de Silva,

Departments of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, LK
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P Lanerolle,

Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, LK
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C Arambepola,

Departments of Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, LK
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S Atukorala

Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, LK
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Abstract

Objectives No data exists for nutritional status of female adolescent school dropouts despite one in seven adolescent girls in Sri Lanka being an early school leaver. The aim of this study was to assess the nutritional status of working and non-working female adolescent school dropouts.

Methods A cross-sectional design was used to recruit 613 female adolescent school dropouts, aged 15-19 years, in two districts of the Western Province of Sri Lanka. BMI was calculated by assessment of weight and height. Haemoglobin, serum ferritin, serum folic acid, vitamin B12, and serum zinc were measured.

Results When girls were grouped into age specific BMI categories, 32.8% of girls were underweight, while 6.1% were overweight. Prevalence of anaemia (haemoglobin <120 g/l) in the study population was 17 %. Low iron status (serum ferritin <20 μg/l) was noted in 29.4 % of girls, low serum folate in 28% (folic acid <3 μg/l) and zinc deficiency in 28.8% (zinc <66 μg/dl). Regression modeling indicated that dropping out of school early (at <14 years of age) was a significant risk factor for low serum ferritin (p=0.001, odds ratio=2.1). Working adolescents were at greater risk of low micronutrient status: low serum ferritin (p=0.009; odds ratio=1.8) serum folic acid (p=0.006; odds ratio=1.9) and zinc deficiency (p=0.001; odds ratio=2.1) than non-working adolescents.

Conclusions Dropping out of school early and being employed increases the risk of micronutrient deficiencies.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v57i2.4460

Ceylon Medical Journal Vol.57(2) June 2012 74-78

DOI: https://doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v57i2.4460
How to Cite: de Lanerolle-Dias, M., de Silva, A., Lanerolle, P., Arambepola, C. and Atukorala, S., 2012. Micronutrient status of female adolescent school dropouts. Ceylon Medical Journal, 57(2), pp.74–78. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/cmj.v57i2.4460
Published on 29 Jun 2012.
Peer Reviewed

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