Assessing the relationship between the knowledge, attitudes, practices and nutrition status of adolescents at Kawolo General Hospital in Lugazi municipality, Buikwe district
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Good nutrition is important in promoting health and is dependent on quality of food eaten. Food choices are determined by many factors among the most important being nutrition knowledge and attitude towards nutrition. This study was therefore designed to assess the relationship between the knowledge, attitudes, practices and nutrition status of adolescents at Kawolo General Hospital in Lugazi Municipality, Buikwe District. A semi-structured interviewer-administered questionnaire was used to interview 110 adolescents at Kawolo General Hospital. The information collected included socio- demographic characteristic, nutrition knowledge, nutrition attitude, dietary practices and nutrition status. The data was analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Science software package. The results showed that Majority 62 (56.4%) of the respondents had poor level of nutrition knowledge, 31 (28.2%) of the respondents had average level of nutrition knowledge and only 17 (15.5%) had good level of nutrition knowledge and majority (75.5%) of the respondents exhibited positive attitude whereas the rest (24.5%) of the respondents had a negative attitude. Most of the adolescents (68.5%) exhibited normal nutritional status but prevalence of overweight and obesity was significantly higher in female adolescents compared to male adolescents. Generally, adolescents exhibited non optimal dietary practices. The average number of meals consumed in a day was three which is far below the recommended 5-6 meals inclusive of snacks. Visiting fast food restaurants (41.3%) was high and there was high consumption of white bread (49.1%). The daily consumption of fruits (49.1%) and vegetables, fish and eggs (0%) was low. Basing on the above study findings, it is concluded that there is a weak negative significant relationship between nutrition status and attitude (Corr = -0.402, P values = 0.002), a strong and relatively perfect positive significant degree of association between practices and nutrition knowledge (Corr = 0.967, P value = 0.000) as opposed to nutritional knowledge and Nutrition status that reported a weak though positive non, significant relationship (Corr = 0.202, P value = 0.138). It can further be reported that, there was a positive and significant degree of associations even though weak between attitude and Nutritional Knowledge (Corr = 0.413, P values=0.002), Nutrition status and practices (Corr = 0.442, P values = 0.002). The study further concluded that the students possessed poor nutrition knowledge, positive attitude towards nutrition and largely normal nutritional status but had non-optimal dietary practices. The study recommends that there is need to sensitize communities on balanced diet especially to adolescents for example in youth centers and schools.