Lung function and nutritional status of semi-nomadic Fulani children and adolescents in northern Nigeria. Academic Article uri icon


  • The Fulani are semi-nomadic pastoralists of the western Sahel whose culture and economy are centered on cattle. We have shown previously that Fulani children and adolescents (5-18 years old) are stunted and underweight. Nutritional status and lung function were studied in Fulani children and adolescents (n = 70), aged 6-18, and compared with a non-Fulani, rural Nigerian control group (n = 153) of the same age. Participants were restricted to healthy individuals with no prior history of respiratory disease and no symptoms of an upper respiratory tract infection within the past 6 weeks. Significant deficits in forced vital capacity (FVC; Fulani males, 1.51 l; non-Fulani males, 1.86 l, p = 0.009; Fulani females, 1.36 l; non-Fulani females, 1.79 l, p < 0.001), forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1; Fulani males, 1.44 l; non-Fulani males, 1.76 l, p = 0.02; Fulani females, 1.24 l; non-Fulani females, 1.69 l, p < 0.001), and peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR; Fulani males, 2.69 l/s; non-Fulani males, 3.48 l/s, p = 0.002; Fulani females, 2.29 l/s; non-Fulani females, 3.35 l/s, p < 0.001) were found in both the Fulani boys and girls compared with the non-Fulani controls. The diminished lung function in the Fulani group could be attributed to respiratory muscle weakness or an overall deficit in energy.

publication date

  • January 1, 2004