To examine dietary intakes and nutritional status of adolescent girls (15-19 years) in Ethiopia
Based on probability proportion to size, 2011 Ethiopian national food consumption survey data (single 24 hour dietary recall) were nationally representative for women 15-45 years with duplicate height and weight measured by trained and standardized enumerators. Nutrient intakes, dietary diversity score (DDS) and Body-Mass-Index for age (BMI-for-age) were analyzed in subsample of 494 adolescent girls (15-19 years)
Adolescent girlâs median nutrient intakes were below estimated average requirement (EAR) for calcium, zinc, vitamin A, and protein; iron and carbohydrate intakes were above the EAR. Mean DDS was 1.87 (4 is minimum proposed by Food and Agriculture Organization). Prevalence of adolescent stunting was 12.6% in urban and 12.8% in rural areas (difference not significant); 5.7% of adolescents in rural areas were thin (BMI-for-age < -2 SD), compared to 3.8% in urban areas (p<0.05) while more girls were overweight (BMI-for-age > 2 SD) in urban (8.8%) than rural (1.9%) areas.
These findings suggest that adolescent girls in Ethiopia have poor nutritional status and poor quality diets, confirmed by low dietary adequacy for protein, calcium, zinc and vitamin A, and a low overall dietary diversity. Interventions are needed to improve the diets of adolescent girls along with interventions for children and adult women.