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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Food is one of the basic needs of man. Our body needs food to do its work. Food is vital to life and may be any solid or liquid substance which when eaten and digested by the body, provides it with necessary materials to enable it grow, replace worn-out and damaged parts and to function normally. The human body is like a complex piece of machinery in that it is prone to faults and weaknesses if it is poorly maintained. This can happen if the daily food intake is in any unbalanced form. Again, any nutritious substance that people or animal eat or drink, or that plants absorb, in order to maintain life and growth (Wikipedia dictionary.com, 2011). In essence, food is made up of nutrients.
Food and nutrition is one of the branches of Home Economics which deals with food and its nutrients. It includes food processing, presentation, food preparation, meal management and services. Lack of adequate intake of these nutrients lead to poor nutritional needs on the academic performance among the primary school children, in particular primary six pupils in rural areas.
Anazonwu, (2003) pointed out that the wealth of a nation depends to a large extent on the health of these citizens. She further said children are the future generation who are expected to grow up in good health, productive adults, likewise are able to make a full contribution towards the economic and social progress of their country. In other words, health is wealth.
Pyke (1982) says that poor diet and disease actually result from underlying causes related to insufficient access to food by families or household. Inadequate caring practices provide vulnerability of the members of the family, in particular, children may be exposed to poor nutrition. It is necessary to identify in a specific situation what constitute the major constraints to providing adequate access to food, to health services and to certain extent education.
According to the World Summit for Children (2000), each day, 60,000 children die from poor nutrition and disease, including acquired immune deficiency syndrome AIDS, from lack of clean water, inadequate sanitation and from the effects of the drug problem. in children, poor nutrition is synonymous with growth failure.
Looking at the adverse effect of poor nutrition on the health, growth and education of the pupils as well as the brighter future of the nations, socio economics development, this study, therefore, become necessary to attempt to uncover the negative impact of poor nutrition on primary six pupils of Imillike Agu in Udenu Local Government of Enugu State with a view to awakening the consciousness of parents, teachers, government and other stakeholders in education. This will go a long way in improving the health, growth and educational needs of the pupils as well as the socio-economic advancement of Imillike town and nation at large.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
According to the state of the word’s children (1988), the primary school children are faced with poor growth or malnutrition which results from deficiency of protein and energy inadequate intake of vital minerals, such as Iron, Calcium, Iodine, Zinc and Phosphorous, in addition with vitamins such as Vitamin A, D, E, and K and some essential Amino Acids.
The researcher’s experience and interaction with primary six pupils, observed that primary six pupils are faced with poor nutritional needs which affects their academic performance. This prompts the researcher to investigate and find out the effects of poor nutritional needs on the academic performance of primary six pupils in some selected primary schools in Imillike town, in order to help these children to perform better in academics.
1.3 PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The main purpose of this research study is to investigate the effects of poor nutritional needs on academic performance of primary six pupils among some selected primary schools in Imillike town. Other objectives of the study include:
1. To find out the difference between the feeding system and the academic performance of the primary six pupils in Imillike town.
2. To identify the difference between food nutrition needed by the pupils in Imillike town.
3. To identify the effects of poor nutrition and academic performance of primary six pupils in Imillike town.
4. To devise means of helping the pupils with poor nutritional status which affects their performance in school in order to meet up with their counterparts in acquiring the three taxonomy of educational objectives.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The following research questions are formulated to facilitate the finding of this research;
i. What is the relationship between good nutrition and child’s performance in the school?
ii. To what extent does the parents’ socio-economic status affect poor nutrition of their children?
iii. Is there any effect of poor nutrition on pupils’ academic performance in Imillike town?
iv. What are the teachers’ attitudes towards malnourished pupils in primary schools in Imillike town?
v. What joint efforts are required to reduce the incidence of malnourished pupils in primary schools in Imillike town?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The significance of this study can be perceived in the following ways:
The finding of this research is hoped to help the government, policy makers, Home Economists, Curriculum Planners, teachers and parents to find tangible solutions to poor nutrition among the children at the primary six level. This should be done through seminars, workshops, conferences, Parents Teachers Association (PTA), community health extension services and correspondence.
The findings will assist the teachers, parents and other stakeholders in education to find solutions to the problems to poor nutrition as it affects the academic performance of primary six pupils.
The findings will also help to alert the government on the importance of regular school; breakfast.
The pupils will be guided by both parents and teachers on the appropriate way and method of feeding in order to be functional at home or school to increase that academic performance.
The finding will be used at national, district/state and local levels, to help plan effective ways to improve nutrition problems in pupils and help identifying the most appropriate ways of solving the problem.
1.6 DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This research study will investigate into the various effects of poor nutrition on the academic performance of primary six pupils. The research will centre on the causes of poor nutrition and its effects on the academic performance of the pupils. The study will be limited to primary six pupils in Imillike town.
1.7 OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS
The following are defined in the context in which they are used in this research:
Effect: This is a change which is as a result or consequence of an action or other cause.
Nutrient: It is a chemical substance in the food we eat.
Nutrition: This is science of how nutrient affect the body and their subsequently relation to the health and disease.
Nutritional Needs: This is the amount of energy and essential nutrients needed to keep the human body healthy.
Primary School: This is a sector for young children who are from the age of five to eleven years receiving their education.
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