Nutrition And Academic Performance of Primary School Children in Kampala Uganda
Angom, Lucky Akullu
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The purpose of this study was to examine the role of nutrition on academic performance of school children aged 6-8 years of a selected primary school in Kampala, Uganda. The objectives of the study were; 1) to assess the nutritional status of school children aged 6 -8 years in Kampala, Uganda, 2) to assess the feeding practices of school children aged 6-8 years in Kampala, Uganda, and 3) to assess the relationship between nutritional status and academic performance of children aged 6 -8 years in Kampala, Uganda. The study used questionnaires to collect data from a sample size of 120 primary school students at Nsangi Primary school. The findings revealed that according to the results from MUAC majority 50(41.6%) of the children at the school were normal, 43(35.8%) had moderate acute malnutrition and 27(22.5%) had severe acute malnutrition. Furthermore, results based on physical growth indices, it was revealed that majority 48(40.3%) were normal, 35(29.2%) were wasted, 22(18.3%) were underweight, 15(12.5%) were stunted and the least 8(7.0%) were overweight. Results further indicated that the feeding practices were that most of the children ate from both home and school (72%) and the least at from home. Majority of the children had breakfast and lunch everyday (86%) and (90%) respectively and the least did not have breakfast and lunch 14% and 10% respectively. A bigger number of the children had meals three times and more (83%) and (78%) reported snacking between meals. None of the children were restricted from eating any type of food and only a few (14.2%) participated in meal planning. Majority (80%) reported that the school provides special meals and the least (9.2%) reported that the school does not provide special meals and all children sat down while eating. The feeding practices were found to significantly affect the nutritional status (P<0.05 at 5%). Results revealed that nutritional status significantly affects academic performance of primary school students aged 6-8 years through class repetition as evidenced by high r=0.712, df = 1 and P=0.039 at 5% level of significance. Nutritional status also affected academic performance through Score pass mark and above in every subject as evidenced by r=0.367, df=1, and P=0.013 at 5% level of significance. Finally nutritional status was found to affect significantly the grade attained by the student evidenced by r=0.412, df=2, and P=0.041 at 95% level of significance. The study concluded that nutritional status affects academic performance of primary school students aged 6-8 years.