Nutritional Status Of Adolescent Offenders In Accra



Adolescent offenders in juvenile detention centers are generally dependent on the centers for their nutrient intakes, and therefore their food selection may be limited, which could have a negative consequences for their nutritional status. We examined the nutritional status of adolescent inmates at the Senior Correctional Centre, Junior Girls Correctional Centre and the Boys Remand Home in Accra


The study was cross-sectional involving inmates (N= 79) between 13-19 years recruited from the Senior Boys Correctional Centre (SBCC) (n= 69), Junior Girls Correctional Centre (JGCC) (n= 6) and Boys Remand Home (BRH) (n=4) in Accra. A pretested questionnaire was used to collect information on background characteristics, physical activity and dietary patterns. A daily weighed food intake was used to estimate the amounts of food consumed. A food composition table (FCT) and laboratory proximate analysis (LPA) of samples of food consumed (by means of standard analytical methods) were used to estimate their nutrient intakes. Clinical signs were assessed by observation. Inmates’ weight and height were measured, and their sex-adjusted BMI-for-age z-scores (BMIZ) were calculated using WHO (2007) reference values for children 10-19 years of age. Using a univariate analysis (Pearson’s correlation), selected variables found to be correlated with low BMIZ (BMIZ < -1 SD) were used in a multiple logistic regression analysis to determine which of the variables were significantly associated with low BMIZ.


A vast majority (92.4%) of whom were males. Mean age of the inmates was 16.6 ± 1.5 years, mean number of months spent at the center was 9.1 ± 7.4 months, and almost (98.7%) all of the participants were first-time offenders. Weeding as a physical activity was performed by more

inmates than any other physical activity and was followed by sweeping and soccer. About 74% of the inmates spent between 30 min and 1 hour performing this activity. Inmates reportedly had good appetite but were sometimes or often hungry. There were stark differences in the nutrient intakes values obtained using FCT versus LPA. Regardless of the method (FCT versus LPA) used, carbohydrate contributed immensely to their total energy intake. Based on intakes using FCT, the mean adequacy ratio, MAR (average ratio of nutrient intake to the recommended intake (each truncated at 1) of calories and six nutrients was 75.6 % (JGCC=75%, BRH= 82.1%, SBCC= 69.9%). However, the MAR calculated using the LPA showed inadequacy in their nutrient intake was 27.5% (JGCC= 26.1%, BRH= 28.8%). About 18% of the inmates had a low BMIZ. Pale conjuctiva was the most predominant clinical sign observed suggestive of severe anaemia. Even though sex , age , being in the JGCC , being in the SBCC, illness in the month preceding the interview, and the average numbers of time they ate per day were significantly correlated with low BMIZ and were included in the multiple logistics regression, only age was a significant predictor of low BMIZ (OR= 10.12; 95% CI=1.57, 25.11, p= 0.042)


The nutrient intakes of adolescent offenders at the three juvenile detention facilities appeared adequate on average when determined using FCT but inadequate when using LPA. Majority of the inmates engaged in physical activity. Nearly 1 in 5 inmates (18%) had a low BMIZ and paleness of the conjuctiva of the eye suggesting severe anaemia was common. There is the need for intervention programs to improve the nutritional status of institutionalized adolescent offenders in Ghana.

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ANSONG, R (2021). Nutritional Status Of Adolescent Offenders In Accra. Afribary. Retrieved from

MLA 8th

ANSONG, RICHARD "Nutritional Status Of Adolescent Offenders In Accra" Afribary. Afribary, 18 Apr. 2021, Accessed 14 Jun. 2024.


ANSONG, RICHARD . "Nutritional Status Of Adolescent Offenders In Accra". Afribary, Afribary, 18 Apr. 2021. Web. 14 Jun. 2024. < >.


ANSONG, RICHARD . "Nutritional Status Of Adolescent Offenders In Accra" Afribary (2021). Accessed June 14, 2024.