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In rural Gambia, do adolescents have increased nutritional vulnerability compared with adults?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Simon M. Schoenbuchner, Sophie E. Moore, William Johnson, Mohammed Ngum, Bakary Sonko, Ann Prentice, Andrew M. Prentice, Kate A. Ward

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-85
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Volume1416
Issue number1
Early online date25 Mar 2018
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Mar 2018

King's Authors

Abstract

Adolescents may be particularly susceptible to malnutrition owing to the energy and nutrient costs of the pubertal growth spurt. Here, our aim is to compare differences in selected markers of nutritional status between adolescents and adults in rural Gambia. The Keneba Biobank collects cross-sectional data and samples for all consenting individuals resident in the West Kiang region of the Gambia. For this study, participants between the ages of 10 and 40 years were selected (n = 4201, females 2447). Height, body mass index, body composition, hemoglobin concentration, fasting glucose concentration, and blood pressure were compared using linear regression models adjusting for age, parity, season of measurement, and residence, across three age groups: early adolescent (10–14.9 years), late adolescent (15–19.9 years), and adult (20–39.9 years). Adolescents, particularly early-adolescent girls and boys, were shorter, lighter, and leaner than adults. By late adolescence, differences were smaller, particularly in girls where, notably, the prevalence of overweight, hypertension, and impaired fasting glucose was low. Given the importance of maternal health for reproductive outcomes and intergenerational health, the results of the study, albeit with limited biomarkers available, indicate that adolescent girls are no more compromised than adult women or males from the same population.

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