• A Policy pathway to reducing teenage pregnancy in Africa

      Odejimi, O; Bellingham-Young, Denise (Journal of Human Growth and Development, 2014-06)
      Background: Teenage pregnancy remains an important and complex issue around the world, with reports indicating that Africa has higher rates than other continents. Studies have indicated that social and economic determinants are associated with these higher rates. Therefore this study aims to identify the social and economic influencers of teenage pregnancy which would help develop a best-practice approach to reduce its incidence in Africa. Methods: Data sets from the World Bank Organisation between 2008 and 2010 specific to 51 Africa countries were obtained to conduct this study, based on availability. Independent t-test, Spearman’s correlation and regression analysis were performed. The eight social and economic variables used in this study are: GDP per capita, GINI index, Female Literacy rate, Health expenditure, Unemployed female rate, Gender equality, Contraceptive prevalence and urban population rate. Results: Independent t-test revealed that in countries where teenage pregnancy rate is high, Literacy rate, contraceptive prevalence rate and Healthcare expenditure rate was low. Spearman correlation indicated that female literacy rate, Healthcare expenditure, GDP per capita and Contraceptive prevalence had a significant inverse relationship with teenage pregnancy rate. Logistic regression indicates that Female Literacy rate is the best predictor of teenage pregnancy in Africa. Conclusion: Result suggest that a practical approach to reduce teenage pregnancy rate in Africa is to implement strategies and policies aimed at improving female literacy rate, Health care expenditure and the GDP per capita of a country. Additionally, an increase in female literacy rate would concurrently increase Contraceptive prevalence rate.
    • The impact of birthweight on adult minor illness: a study on a subclinical population

      Bellingham-Young, Denise; Adamson-Macedo, EN (Journal of Human Growth and Development, 2013-12)
      Official classification for low birth weight is 2500 gram or below. Whilst there is no consensus of what constitutes normal birth weight, it has been suggested that the optimal birthweight for long term health is 3500 - 4500 gram; hence those with birth weight between 2500 and 3490 gram could be deemed to be a sub clinical population. The objective was to investigate the relationship between disease and birthweight and to compare vulnerability of those with suboptimal and optimal birthweight in adulthood. This is a cohort study; with cross sectional retrospective design involving 258 adults aged 18-62 who knew their birth weight. Participants completed a minor illness checklist, using a median split, participants were categorised as high or low minor illness group. Results indicate a negative correlation between birthweight and minor illness score (r = -.155, p = .013). Those born with sub optimal birthweight are more likely to report minor illness symptoms above the media score of 16 (OR 1.70 CI 95% 1.04-2.79).It is concluded that there is a relationship between birthweight and level of minor illness in adulthood. Those born with birthweight 2500 - 3490 gram appear to be more vulnerable to minor illness. Thus, working with Foetal Origins theory, it may be possible that this group experienced a degree of foetal compensation, the consequence being that the immune system is compromised. Application of a three dimensional equilibrium model is suggested in designing interventions that improve foetal environment and subsequent health chances.