NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCY AND PERFORMANCE OF CHILDREN IN SCHOOL

  RESEARCH PROPOSAL Chapter One: Introduction Nutrition is an important factor affecting growth, health and all round development of individuals, mostly children. According to UNICEF in 2005 (WBI, GAIN, IMD, 2006), malnutrition caused approximately 50% of child death worldwide, making the UN’s Millennium development goal to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by 2015 particularly ambitious (Jukes  et al., 2000). Proper nutrition is critical to maximizing brain function and enhancing learning. Helping children develop healthful habits from a young age will aid them in reaching their optimal potential. Malnutrition has been defined as the cellular imbalance between supply of nutrients and energy and the body’s demand for them to ensure growth maintenance and specific functions. It is simply refers to as a medical conditions caused by an improper or insufficient diet (Ebuehi, 2012). According to Sawaba (2006) malnutrition occurs when hunger goes on in such intensity and for such a long time period of time that they start to interfere in the body’s energy supply. Serious malnutrition can cause neurological impairment which can cause physical and mental deficiencies that could jeopardize learning. The studies of the influence of malnutrition on academic ability indicate that chronic under nutrition is associated with lower achievement levels among primary school students. (Grantham-McGregorand Ani, 2001). Good health and nutrition are needed to achieve one’s full educational potential because nutrition affects intellectual development and learning ability (UN/ACC/SCN, 1990; Ernesto, 1990). Multiple studies report significant findings between the nutritional status and cognitive test scores or school performance. Studies have consistently shown that, students’ with more adequate diets score higher on tests of factual knowledge than those with less adequate nutrition (Levinger, 1996; WHO,1996; Pollitt, 1990). Studies have found that severe stunting in the first two years of life is strongly associated with lower test scores in school-age children.  Also, nutritional anaemia, particularly deficiencies of iron, iodine and vitamin A are major problems for students in low income countries. It has been shown that such deficiencies can negatively impact on growth, increase susceptibility  to infection  and also impair the mental development and learning ability of school children (Pollitt, 1990). The education of millions of children throughout the World is being held back by malnutrition (UN/ACC/SCN, 1990).Malnutrition in students can affect school aptitudes, time of school enrolment, concentration and attentiveness (Levinger, 1996). Students with a history of severe malnutrition perform less well on tests of IQ and specific factual knowledge

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