Malnutrition and Academic Performance of Junior Secondary School Students

Malnutrition and Academic Performance of Junior Secondary School Students
Malnutrition and Academic Performance of Junior Secondary School Students

ABSTRACT: This study examines the influence Malnutrition and Academic Performance of Junior Secondary School Students in selected public secondary schools. Four research questions were formulated to guide the study. 1482 respondents consisting of all (1321) Junior Secondary three students and 96 Junior Secondary three subject teachers made up of population of this study. A sample size of 226 respondents comprising of 130 students and 96 teachers was drawn using the stratified random sampling technique. Simple percentages were used in data analysis and in the testing of the four research questions. The data were collected through the use of stratified questionnaire, the findings were: (i) Family background and high level poverty accounted for the problem of malnutrition among students (ii) malnutrition impacts negatively on Junior Secondary three students academic performance that it causes poor 1Q development, low grades in cognitive test rate extreme into school growth and high absenteeism among students (iii) malnutrition also impact negatively on student physical development by showing students growth and high level of disease infections among students (iv) poverty alleviation, an indirect measure interventions are absent.

As a result of the above, it concluded by recommended that as malnutrition impacts negatively and significantly on students academic performance, the government and school managers should as a matter of legacy put in place school – based intervention performs to adequately address this problem among other recommendations.


Malnutrition and Academic Performance of Junior Secondary School Students



1.1    Background of the study 

Malnutrition is a condition caused by not getting enough food or by not eating balance diet. It also means lack of nutrient in the body. Lack of this nutrient causes premature birth, low birth, infections and premature deaths. (Dorland Medical Dictionary0 has been found to have negative effect on individuals, most especially on children. It affects the emotional psychological, mental and intellectual development and indeed the overall development of the child. (Essien et al, 2012) it effects also extends to the pace and level of socio-economic development as well as productivity of both developing and developed nation (UNICEF, 2005).

The enormity of the impact of this problem is adequately captured by world health organization when it cited malnutrition as the greatest singly threat to public health worldwide and by far the biggest contributor to child mortality (WHO, 2012). This assertion is supported by the united nation who posited that education of millions of children throughout the world is being held back malnutrition (UN/ACC/SCN, 1990).

In fact current trend regarding the problem of malnutrition shows that it account for approximately 50 percent of child mortality world wide, making the UN’S Millennium Development Goal to eradicate poverty, hunger and illiteracy all over the world by 2015 unrealizable (UNICEF, 2005).

Jukes et al 2000, the negative effect of malnutrition on individuals, most  especially children of school age has therefore promoted series of researches and studies nationally  and globally in the past few decades all aimed at providing solution to this problem (Pollit, 1990; Levinger, 1996).

The studies of the effect of malnutrition on cognitive development ability indicate that chlorine under nutrition is associated with lower achievement levels in school children (Granthamme Greyor and Ani, 2001). Other researcher have consistently found protein, energy malnutrition and  iron – deficiency anemia to have significant negative effects on test of cognitive function in both pre-schools and school age children on attendance and achievement among the latter (Behrman, 1996) on the other hand, better health and nutrition have been found to be positively associated with gains in school in many areas, enrollment at young ages, less grade repetition less absenteeism, more grade completed and better preface on test score (Behrman, 1996).

Recent surely conclude that empirical studies constitute evidence showing that health and nutrition influence children success in school (Leilie & Jamison, 1990; Pollit, 1990; Meyers, 1992; Levinger, 1996) it is unfortunate that in spite of the discovery that the abjection of millions of children throughout the world is being held back by malnutrition especially in the developing countries, policy-makers school administrators and educational planners in Nigeria have done so little to mitigate this problems been in face of falling standard of education. It therefore become imperative to undertake this study to examine the influence of malnutrition on academic performance of Junior secondary three students in Etima Ekpo Local Government Area Akwa Ibom State with a view to raising both the academic performance of students and the standard of education in the state.

1.2    Statement of the problem

Malnutrition has remained a major public health problem in Nigeria and accounts for more than 50 percent of under five deaths in the country. Statistics have shown that one million Nigerians suffer from severe malnutrition.

Unfortunately, the situation has assumed public health proportion and this has also been linked to poor academic performance among Nigerian children (Ogundipe and Obinna, 2012) malnutrition which is traceable to various factors in our environment account for severe stunting which in turn is associated with lower test scores in schools age children.

It also increase susceptibility of school children to infections and impair their mental development and learning ability (Pollit 1990). This portends great danger  to the social, political, technological and economical development of this country. Indeed the future looks bleak considering the falling standard of education witnessed in recent times. This is so because children are the future leaders in any nation while education is seen as a veritable tool for socio-economic development. The low level of productivity and economic backwardness witnessed in sub-Saharan Africa including Nigeria stem from the problem of malnutrition. Evidence reveal that Nigeria had paid little attention to this problem in its policy formation and implementation despite her vast resources and this does not augur well if the millennium development goal (MDG) and the vision 2020 is to be achieved.

It therefore becomes necessary to undertake this research to examine malnutrition and academic performance of junior secondary three students in Etim Ekpo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

1.3    Purpose of the study

1.4    Significant of the Study

                   This work shall advance the following significance:

  • It will assist the government at the various tiers in the formulation and implementation of policies aimed at improving the availability of health nutrition and educational programmes in an era marked by failing standard of education.
  • It will help nutritionist, dieticians and health care giver in gaining new ideas relating to the problem of malnutrition.
  • It will create the needed awareness on the thereby keeping individuals improve their health status.
  • It will assists public and private schools administrations especially those with boarding facilities in planning the menu for their students and this will go a long way in improving both the health academic performance of their students.

1.5    Research Questions 

1.6    Research Hypotheses 

1.7    The scope of the study

The scope of this study limited, it is limited to malnutrition and academic performance of junior secondary three students. It is also limited to select boarding and day public secondary schools in the study area.


Malnutrition and Academic Performance of Junior Secondary School Students

1.8    Limitation of the study

In the course of this research, some constraints were encountered by the researcher they are:

  • The limited time permitted for the writing of this research prevented the gathering of data for this work.
  • The meager finance at the disposal of researcher also affected the quality of materials sourced for this work.
  • The uncompromising attitude of the teachers and students of the selected secondary schools in terms of receipt completion and return of the completed questionnaire distributed to them as no financial incentive was attached affected the speedy completion of this research work. These constraints not withstanding do not affect the outcome of this work.
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