Examination Of Primary School Pupils’ Nutritional Intake And Its Implication On Academic Performance

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Examination Of Primary School Pupils’ Nutritional Intake And Its Implication On Academic Performance


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Nutrition is a critical component of human existence, health, and development throughout the lifespan. Proper food and nutrition are vital for survival, physical growth, mental development, performance and productivity, health and well-being from the earliest stages of fetal development, at birth, through infancy, youth, adolescence, maturity, and old life (FAO/WHO, 1992; WHO, 2000). Evidence shows that children’s physical growth and cognitive development are faster throughout their early years of life, with 50 percent of adult intellectual capacity acquired by the age of four, and 92 percent of adult intellectual ability attained by the age of thirteen (Vernon, 1976). Nutrition is the science that deals with the study of food in relation to their effects on the human body. It is also the study of various nutrients in relation to their effects upon the human body.

Evidence shows that 4% of all children born in underdeveloped nations die of malnutrition before reaching the age of five (Toriola, 1990); and that the children of illiterate parents in low socio-economic groups with limited purchasing power in the economy are the most impacted (Adekunle, 2005). Nutrition is a critical component of human existence, health, and development throughout the lifespan. Proper food and nutrition are vital for survival, physical growth, mental development, performance and productivity, health and well-being from the earliest stages of fetal development, at birth, through infancy, youth, adolescence, maturity, and old life (FAO/WHO, 1992; WHO, 2000). More so, evidence shows that children’s physical growth and cognitive development are faster throughout their early years of life, with 50 percent of adult intellectual capacity acquired by the age of four, and 92 percent of adult intellectual ability attained by the age of thirteen (Vernon, 1976)

Importantly, the association between timely and high-quality nutritional consumption, brain size, and intelligence has been established (Strupp & Levitsky, 1995; Florey et al., 1995), as well as the fact that head circumference and intelligence quotient have a strong correlation (1Q). This suggests that differences in human brain size may play a role in explaining differences in intelligence and academic performance, even though genetic and environmental factors such as socioeconomic, sociocultural, and psychological factors may be direct or indirect co-determinants of both intelligence and academic performance. The head circumference is a physical indicator of past nutrition and brain development, as well as a good predictor of a child’s later intelligence (Botting et al., 1998), and it is the most sensitive anthropometric index of prolonged under-nutrition during infancy, which is linked to intellectual impairment (Ivanovic, 1996). Several studies have found that inadequate eating and/or recurring illnesses caused by poverty result in stunted development, significant brain damage, low intellectual competence, and limited learning ability in children (Kerr & Black, 2000).


1.2 Statement of the Problem

Nutrition has a crucial part in the development and growth of every human beginning from birth. There’s also the adage “you are what you eat.” That is, your output (performance) tells a lot about who you are. Recent stuiesy has revealed that nutrition affects students’ cognitive capacity, behavior, and health, all of which affect academic attainment. Diets high in trans and saturated fats can hinder learning and memory, nutritional deficiencies early in life can affect school-aged children’s cognitive development, and access to nutrition improves kids’ cognition, focus, and energy levels, according to study. Nutrition has an indirect impact on academic performance. Poor nutrition can make children ill or create headaches and stomachaches, causing them to skip school. Pupils’ memory, concentration, and energy levels have all been demonstrated to improve when they have access to protein, carbohydrates, and glucose (Bellisle, 2004; Sorhaindo & Feinstein, 2006). Nutritional deficiencies (especially zinc, B vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and protein) early in life, may have an effect on school-aged children’s cognitive development, according to Sorhaindo and Feinstein (2006). Trans and saturated fat diets have also been demonstrated to have a negative impact on the brain, impairing learning and memory.

According to Florence, Asbridge, and Veugelers (2008), 5th grade students who ate a less healthful diet performed lower on a standardized literary examination. Another study discovered that fifth-grade students who ate more fast food fared worse in mathematics and literacy (Li & O’Connell, 2012). Similarly Belot & James (2009) carried out a a study on healthy eating program that substituted junk food in schools with healthier, freshly cooked school meals, they found that students who participated in the campaign outperformed those who did not in English and science exams. These studies stated above were conducted outside of Nigeria, hence necessitating a study of this type with Nigeria. Thus is upon this premise that this study seeks to examine primary school pupils’ nutritional intake and its implication on academic performance.


1.3 Objective of the Study

The broad objective of this study is to examine primary school pupils’ nutritional intake and its implication on academic performance. Specifically, the study seeks to:

  1. To ascertain if a student exposure to adequate nutrition will affect pupil’s intelligence quotient.
  2. To determine whether malnutrition significantly affects pupil’s learning ability.
  3. To investigate whether Scholastic achievement is a function of quality nutritional intake.
  4. To access whether nutrition intake significantly affect their academic performance.

1.4 Research Hypothesis

The research is guided by the following tentative statement:

  • HO1: Pupil’s Scholastic achievement is not a function of quality nutritional intake.
  • Ho2: Nutrition intake doe not have any significant effect on their learning ability and academic performance.

1.5 Significance of the Study

Findings of the study will be significant to government, teachers and other stakeholders in education including parents. To government the study will enlighten them on the need to ensure implementation of the feeding programme in the education policy. To teacher it will enhance them to be more empathetic towards the learning capability of pupils so as to help them improve where need be. To parent the study will enlighten them on the need to ensure they properly feed their children before sending to school as leaving them hungry can distort their cognition during teaching-learning process. The study will empirically add to the body of knowledge and serve as reference material for other academia in related field of study.


1.6 Scope of the Study

The scope of this study borders on an examination of primary school pupils’ nutritional intake and its implication on academic performance. The study will further ascertain if a student exposure to adequate nutrition will affect pupil’s intelligence quotient. It will determine whether malnutrition significantly affects pupil’s learning ability, It will investigate whether Scholastic achievement is a function of quality nutritional intake and access whether nutrition intake significantly affect their academic performance. The study is however delimited to Offa Local Government in Kwara State.


1.7 Limitation of the Study

Like in every human endeavour, the researchers encountered slight constraints while carrying out the study. The significant constraint was the scanty literature on the subject owing that it is a new discourse thus the researcher incurred more financial expenses and much time was required in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature, or information and in the process of data collection, which is why the researcher resorted to a limited choice of sample size covering only secondary schools in Offa Local Government in Kwara State.. Thus findings of this study cannot be generalized for other primary schools in other states within Nigeria. Additionally, the researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work will impede maximum devotion to the research. Howbeit, despite the constraint encountered during the research, all factors were downplayed in other to give the best and make the research successful.


1.8 Definition of Terms

Nutrition:

Nutrition has several components: energy (calories), macronutrients (eg, protein, carbohydrate, fat) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). The optimum levels of each are required for good nutrition.

Malnutrition:

Malnutrition occurs when there is a major imbalance or insufficiency of nutrients. Note that obesity is a form of malnutrition.

Nutritional Intake:

Nutritional intake refers to the energy, macronutrients and micronutrients consumed in food and drink. The methodology for measuring nutritional intake is complex, and usually involves 24 hour diet recall.

Nutritional Status:

Nutritional status refers to the adequacy of energy, macronutrients and micronutrients in the body. Because people have different nutritional needs, people with the same nutritional intake may vary in nutritional status.


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Frequently Asked Questions


What are the objectives of nutrition in primary school education?

Other specific objectives include: 1. to determine the relationship between nutrition and academic performance of primary school pupils. 2. to examine the effect of nutrition on the academic performance of primary school pupils. 3. to identify means of helping the pupils with poor nutritional status which affects their academic performance.

Should nutritional status and academic performance be considered in education policies?

Nutritional status and academic performance in primary school children the design of education policies. This would eventually pupils nationally. Strong evidence exists that poor poor school performance and intelligence quotient (IQ).

How does nutrition affect academic performance of children?

Nutritional status acts as an important determinant of the academic performance of the children. Poor nutrition status adversely affects the cognitive development of children (Opoola et al., 2016; dey and Nath 2017).

What is the main aim of this study on nutrition?

The main aim of study is the effects of nutrition on the academic performance of primary school pupils. Other specific objectives include: 1. to determine the relationship between nutrition and academic performance of primary school pupils. 2. to examine the effect of nutrition on the academic performance of primary school pupils. 

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