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 than children in matched comparison groups (Pollitt, 1990). Malnutrition also impairs the ability to concentrate, learn and attend school regularly (UN/ACC/SCN, 1990). A child who is malnourished and subsequently suffering from poor health cannot adequately take advantage of instructional and learning materials (Levinger, 1996).

One of the major causes of malnutrition is poverty. Children living in poverty are often subject to such health and safety issues as malnutrition, environmental hazards and insufficient health care. Health and achievement overlap, every cell in the body needs a healthy environment to function optimally. When body cells are besieged daily by stressors, they slow their growth trajectory and contract. Student’s raised in poor homes have more cells in their body “under siege” than do children from middle or upper income families. The consequent adaptations that these children immune systems make diminish their ability to concentrate, learn and behave appropriately.

Substandard housing in poverty neighbourhood  leaves children exposed to everything from greater pedestrian risks to environmental hazards (Evans, 2004). Poor housing quality may cause respiratory morbidity and childhood injuries  and may elevate psychological distress in children (Evans, Wells & Moch, 2003). Poor children are more likely to live in old and inadequately maintained housing and to be exposed to lead in peeling paints, a factor associated with decreased 1Q (Schwartz, 1994).

Children from low-income families have generally poorer physical health than do their more affluent peers. In particular, there is a higher incidence of such conditions as asthma, respiratory infections, tuberculosis infections and hearing loss and obesity (Simves, 2003, Wang & Zhang, 2006).

All of these consequences of malnutrition compromise student’s attendance and performance at school. This study therefore examines the effective of malnutrition on students’ academic performance, to provide possible solutions to problems facing students and make recommendations.

Chapter Two: Literature Review

Chapter two focuses on the literature review; and discusses nutritional deficiency and performance of children in school.

Chapter Three: Research Methodology

This chapter presents the research methodology employed in this study. It focuses on the nutritional deficiency and performance of children in primary school using Obudu, Cross River State as case study. It entails or deals on the methods and procedure employed by the researcher in collecting data. In analyzing the data collected from the respondents, simple percentage method of data analysis was adopted for demographic data. Inferential statistical analysis of Pearson Product Correlation Coefficient was used in analyzing the research question at 0.05 level of significance

Chapter Four: Data Analysis

In this chapter, the researcher analyses the data collected for the researcher work and interprets it according to the research questions formulated in chapter one.

Chapter Five: Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations

Summary and conclusions are to be drawn from the research literature, research findings and data analysis. Recommendations on linking positive study habit to enhanced performance of adult learners will be made in the final chapter.



1.1       Background to the Study

1.2       Statement of the Study

1.3       Purpose of the Study

1.4       Research Question

1.5       Research Hypotheses

1.6       Significance of the Study

1.7       Scope of the Study

1.8       Operational Definition of Terms



2.0       Introduction

2.1        Nutrient Value and Importance

2.2       Conceptualizing Nutritional Deficiency

2.3       Causes of Nutritional Deficiency

2.4       Influence of Nutritional Deficiency on Academic Performance

2.5       Appraisal of Literature




3.1       Research Design

3.2       Population of the Study

3.3       Sample and Sampling Procedure

3.4       Instrument of Data Collection

3.5       Procedure of Administration

3.6       Method of Data Analysis



4.1       Introduction

4.2       Analysis of Research Hypotheses

4.3       Discussion of Findings



5.1       Summary

5.2       Conclusion

5.3       Recommendation




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