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Overnutrition and undernutrition of adolescent girls living in a squatter community in Managua, Nicaragua: The impact of a 2 year nutrition education program

Lisa R Pawloski, PhD1, Jean B. Moore, PhD, RN1, and Laura Lumbi2. (1) College of Nursing and Health Science, George Mason University, 4400 University Drive MSN 3C4, Fairfax, VA 22030, 7039934628, lpawlosk@gmu.edu, (2) Universidad de Politecnica de Nicaragua, Apartado 3595, Managua, Nicaragua

This research examines the impact of a nutrition intervention program on the nutritional status of Nicaraguan adolescent girls. Indicators of nutritional status were from a total of 184 girls ages 10 to 17 years in January of 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004. Data presented here include anthropometric measurements, hemoglobin values, dietary recalls, and ethnographic data concerning traditional eating behaviors. Baseline data were collected in 2001 and a nutrition intervention program was initiated in January 2002. Thus these data examine the impact of the nutrition intervention program after two years. The nutrition intervention program from 2002 to 2003 included nutrition education classes focused on the needs of Nicaraguan adolescent girls and the intervention program that ran from 2003 to 2004 included the mothers of the girls. The baseline data collected in 2001 revealed the majority of these girls are shorter (mean HAZ = -1.24 .97) and lighter (mean WAZ = -.54 .84) when compared to U.S. reference girls. The data also revealed that 5.7% of the girls were obese and 12% were categorized as having anemia. The data collected one year after the nutrition program in 2003 revealed again poor growth indicators and no statistically significant differences for mean WAZ or mean HAZ. However, more girls were classified as having anemia. The data for 2004 are currently being analyzed and will be presented during the meetings. These findings have implications for understanding the impact of nutrition intervention programs aimed at improving the nutritional status of adolescent girls in Nicaragua.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Adolescents, International, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Improving Services for Immigrants, Refugees, Women, and Youth

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA