The Effect Of Nutrition On Mental Development Of School Aged Children

Medical and Health Science Project and Seminar Material

The Effect Of Nutrition On Mental Development Of School Aged Children


Abstract


The main aim of the research work is to determine the effect of nutrition on mental development of school aged children. The study will be limited to Esan West local government area of Edo state from 2004 to 2018. The sample size for this study is 100 students. The questionnaire will be titled: “the effect of nutritional intake on cognitive functioning of school age children.” The retrieved copies of questionnaire were analyzed using simple percentage and frequency count with the aid of the software SPSS version 20. The results of the study found out that there is a statistically significant (0.00) strong relationship (0.819) between the responses of the respondents that said there is significant relationship between nutrition and the level of cognizance among school aged child. Community should also contribute in the provision of nutrition education programmes protecting the drinking water supply building of latrines/toilet keeping the surrounding clean.


Chapter One


1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background of Study

In Nigeria today with the level of exposure and improvement in knowledge on health, food and nutrition, there have being a significant growth in the mental status of school aged children (Benton, 2009).

Nutrition is usually considered to be important for physical health but mental health must be taken as equally important. Research in the field has shown that nutrition is one of many factors that potentially influence a child’s development besides genetic, socio-economic, environmental and behavioural factors (Associate Parliamentary & Health, 2008; Bryan et al., 2004). Understanding the relationship between nutrition and mental performance in children is important regarding their attainment and productivity both in school and in later life (Alderman, Behrman, Lavy, & Menon, 1997; Florence, Asbridge, & Veugelers, 2008). To date, there is a growing body of evidence that diet might influence the development and functioning of the brain which in turn has an effect on mental performance as a functional outcome, especially when the brain is still developing during childhood and early adolescence (Benton, 2008a).

A diet containing too many ingredients that are detrimental in excess or lacking essential nutrients is likely to have adverse consequences for mental outcomes (Associate Parliamentary & Health, 2008) whereas a balanced diet is important for physical wellbeing and mental health, with implications for school performance (Associate Parliamentary & Health, 2008; Florence et al., 2008). Thus, children should have a varied diet with good nutritional content and regular intake to ensure the best possible cognitive development and performance (Bellisle, 2004). Since parents are seen as gate keepers to a child’s diet and provide the key environment for the development of a child’s eating behaviours (Birch & Davison, 2008; K. A. Brown, Ogden, Vogele, & Gibson, 2008), they constitute an important group of consumers for nutritional communication through policies, public health intervention programmes as well as through health claims on functional food products.

Parents influence all aspects of a child’s life to some degree including the development of food choices as well as controlling the availability and types of food in the home (R. Brown & Ogden, 2004; Golan & Crow, 2004). Moreover, parents’ own eating behaviours influence those of their children (Birch & Davison, 2005) and thus the family provides a key environment for young children to learn and develop eating habits and food preferences. As children grow and attend school other people such as peers and teachers become more important influences (Perez-Rodrigo & Aranceta, 2006) and children gradually become more independent of their parents. The family is seen as one of the major contexts of a child’s development which includes cognitive development and achievement (Scott-Jones, 2004).


1.2 Statement of Research Problem

Over the years in Nigeria there has been questionings as regards the performance of students in most schools in Nigeria. In Esan West for instance, it has been found that the rate of assimilation of school aged children is very poor despite the availability of instructional materials. Some of the problems might be as a result of malnutrition or over nutrition and this might have significant effect on the mental development of the school aged children in Esan West local government area of Edo state. Secondly there have been several research on the nutrition, malnutrition but not even a single study have been carried out on the effect of malnutrition on mental development of school aged children in Esan West local government area of Edo State


1.3 Aim and Objectives of Study

The main aim of the research work is to determine the effect of nutrition on mental development of school aged children. Other specific objectives of the study are:

  1. To determine the relationship between nutrition and the level of cognizance among school aged children in Esan West local government area
  2. To determine the extent to which family background affect the nutritional intake of school aged children in Esan West local government area
  3. To investigate on the factors affecting mental development among school aged children in Esan West local government area of Edo State
  4. To proffer solution to the above stated problems

1.4 Research Questions

The study came up with research questions so as to ascertain the above stated objectives of the study. The research questions for the study are:

  1. What is the relationship between nutrition and the level of cognizance among school aged children in Esan West local government area?
  2. To what extent does family background affect the nutritional intake of school aged children in Esan West local government area?
  3. What are the factors affecting mental development among school aged children in Esan West local government area of Edo State?

1.5 Statement of Research Hypothesis

Hypothesis 1

H0; there is no significant relationship between nutrition and the level of cognizance among school aged children in Esan West local government area

H1; there is significant relationship between nutrition and the level of cognizance among school aged children in Esan West local government area


1.6 Significance of Study

The study on the effect of nutrition on mental development of school aged children will be of immense benefit to parents, the school aged children in Esan West local government area of Edo state and other researchers that desire to carry out similar research on the above topic as the findings of the study will educate the above population on the nutrition, the benefit of nutrition, the relationship between nutrition and cognizance in Esan West L.G.A of Edo State. Finally the study will contribute to the body of existing literature and knowledge in this field of study and provide a basis for further research


1.7 Scope of Study

The study on the effect of nutrition on mental development of school aged children will be limited to Esan West local government area of Edo state from 2004 to 2018


1.8 Limitation of Study

Financial constraint

Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint

The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work


1.9 Definition of Terms

Balance diet:

It is the diet that contains the six class of food taken in a right proportion.

Unbalance diet:

It is the diet that those not contains the six classes of food.

WHO:

World Health Organization

Poor Nutrition:

The deficiency intake of food nutrient by the body.

Marasmus:

A condition result fro taking food that is very low in calorific value.

Calorific Value:

Nutrient value.

Nutrition:

The process of providing or obtaining the food necessary for health and growth


Chapter Five


5.0 Summary Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary

The main aim of the research work is to determine the effect of nutrition on mental development of school aged children. The study found out that there is significant relationship between nutrition and the level of cognizance among school aged children in Esan West local government area. Nutrition has significant effect on cognitive functioning of school aged children. Energy malnutrition caused young children to be lethargic, withdrawn, and passive. Omega-3 fatty acids are very important to the optimum performance of the brain. Eating properly plays a significant role in the proper functioning of the brain


5.2 Conclusion

In conclusion there is significant relationship between nutrition and the level of cognizance among school aged children in Esan West local government area since there is a statistically significantly (0.00) strong relationship (0.819) between the responses of the respondents that said that there is significant relationship between nutrition and the level of cognizance among school aged children in Esan West local government area and those that said that nutrition has significant effect on cognitive functioning of school aged children.


5.3 Recommendation

The study recommends that:

  1. The government and private enterprise should sponsor vaccination campaigns and watching over the growth and development of children in the societies.
  2. The government should enforce and stress or all pregnant women to eat balance diet and other nourishing food items that will make them have a good birth weight during and after pregnancy.
  3. Government and private organization should establish food supplication programmes to fortify food for general consumption.
  4. Communities should also contribute in the provision of nutrition education programmes protecting the drinking water supply building of latrines/toilet keeping the surrounding clean.
  5. The government should encourage all mothers to return to their pediatrician or health clinic seven days after birth and when the baby is one month old.
  6. The mother should also seek professional health care centre in the baby shows symptoms of dehydration severe diarrhea or fever.

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