Journal of Health and Medical Sciences
Published: 29 July 2020
Nutritional Factors and Academic Performance of Primary School Children in an Urban City in Southern Nigeria
Vivian O. Omuemu, Esohe O. Ogboghodo
University of Benin
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Keywords: Academic Performance, Nutritional Status, Meal Pattern, School Children
Background: Dietary habits and nutritional status of school children are essential for their growth, cognitive development and subsequent educational achievement. This study assessed the association between nutritional factors and academic performance of primary school children in Benin City. Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted out among 636 primary school children selected by multistage sampling technique. Pretested, interviewer-administered questionnaire was the data collection tool and anthropometric measurements were taken. Data were analyzed using SPSS statistical package version 22.0 and level of significance was set at p < 0.05. Results: Mean age (± SD) was 8.8 (±2.3) years. Only 241 (37.7%) of the respondents ate the three main meals in the last one week preceding the study. Breakfast was skipped by 267 (41.8%) of the respondents. Majority (90.9%) of them had high dietary diversity (consumed > 6 food groups). Prevalence of stunting, underweight, thinness and overweight/obesity was 16.9%, 10.6%, 24.1% and 8.0%, respectively. Those who skipped breakfast (10.9%) had significantly higher proportion of low academic performance compared with those who did not (7.3%), p<0.001. Those with low dietary diversity score had significantly higher proportion of low academic performance compared with those who had high dietary diversity score (66.7% versus 7.4%), p=0.003. Conclusion: Breakfast skipping and low dietary diversity were significantly associated with poor academic performance of the study population. The government should strengthen its commitment to implementing the school feeding programme in the state and nutrition education of mothers on benefits of not skipping meals especially breakfast should be carried out.
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