The present cross sectional study was conducted to find out the dietary habits and academic performance of adolescents, aged10-19 years in secondary schools in Bende Local Government Area, Abia State. A total of 303 students were selected using systematic sampling technique. Structured questionnaire was used to obtain information on socio-economic characteristics of the students, dietary habit and food frequency. Anthropometric indices of the secondary school students was collected and grouped using WHO anthro plus. Data obtained were analyzed using descriptive statistics such as frequencies and percentages, mean and standard deviation and chi-square. From the result, 37.0% were within the age of 14-16 years, 35% and 35.6% of their mothers and fathers were traders, 39.3% and 49.2% of their mothers and fathers completed their secondary school education, 35.3% earned N30,000-39,000 monthly. Only (38.9%) skipped meals of which 84.7% skipped breakfast because the food was usually not available (33.9%). Some (42.2%) consumed snacks twice a day all of them consumed one fruit and vegetable or the other. In their frequency of food consumption, all the food groups were mostly consumed two times and three times a week. Rice was mostly consumed by the students at breakfast (25.5%) and lunch (24.4%), while 53.1% consumed garri with different soups. However, 30.8% consumed biscuits before lunch and before dinner (52.7%). Prevalence of stunting, underweight and overweight were 16.8%, 10.6% and 6.9% among the students. Majority (75.2%) which comprised of 76.7% males and 74.1% females had poor academic performances. Significant difference was observed between the number of meals eaten a day (x2=8.976; p=0.030), frequency of snack consumption (x2=16.141; p=0.013) and their academic performances. Therefore, effort should be made to ensure that the children eat three times a day.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title Page i
Table of Contents v
List of Tables vii
List of Figures viii
1.1 Statement of the problem 3
1.2 Objectives of the study 5
1.3 Significance of the study 6
LITERATURE REVIEW 8
2.1 Meaning of dietary habits 8
2.2 Factors affecting dietary habit 8
2.3.1 Academic Performance 11
2.3.2 Factors affecting academic performance of adolescents 15
2.4 Adolescents 17
2.5 Food consumption patterns of adolescents 18
2.6 Methods of assessing Nutritional status 18
2.6.1 Anthropometric Assessment 19
2.6.2 Biochemical Assessment 21
2.6.3 Clinical Assessment 22
2.6.4 Dietary Intake Assessment 22
2.7 Dietary intake and Adequacy among Adolescents 24
2.8 Energy and Nutrition requirement of Adolescents 25
MATERIALS AND METHOD 31
3.1 Study design 31
3.2 Area of Study 31
3.3 Population of study 31
3.4 Sample and sampling techniques 32
3.4.1 Sample size determination 32
3.4.2 Sampling procedures 33
3.5 Preliminary Activity 33
3.5.1 Preliminary visit 33
3.5.2 Training of research assistants 33
3.5.3 Informed consent 34
3.6 Data collection 34
3.6.1 Questionnaire administration 34
3.6.2 Interview 34
3.6.3 Dietary Assessment 35
3.6.4 Assessment of Academic Performance 35
3.7 Statistical analysis 36
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION 37
4.1 Personal Characteristics of the adolescents 37
4.2 Socioeconomic status of the adolescent’ parents 38
4.3 Dietary habits of adolescents 40
4.4 Dietary habits of the students using their food frequency 45
4.5: Dietary habit of the adolescents using their 24 hour dietary recall 58
4.6: Anthropometric Status of Secondary School Adolescents 62
4.7: Academic Performances of the Adolescents, Using Their Cumulative Class Average and Scores 66
4.8: Relationship Between Academic Performance and Dietary Habits of the Adolescents 69
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS 72
5.1 Conclusion 72
5.2 Recommendations 72
LIST OF TABLES
4.1: Distribution of the adolescents according to their personal information 37
4.2: Distribution of the adolescents according to their parents’
socioeconomic characteristics 39
4.3a: Distribution of the adolescents according to their dietary habit 42
4.3b: Distribution of the adolescents according to their dietary habit 44
4.4a: Distribution of the adolescents according to their frequency of food consumption 46
4.4b: Distribution of the adolescents according to their frequency of food consumption 49
4.4c: Distribution of the adolescents according to their frequency of food consumption 51
4.4d: Distribution of the adolescents according to their frequency of food consumption 53
4.4e: Distribution of the adolescents according to their frequency of food consumption 55
4.4f: Distribution of the adolescents according to their frequency of food consumption 57
4.5a: Distribution of the adolescents according to their 24 hour dietary recall 59
4.5b: Distribution of the adolescents according to their 24 hour dietary recall 61
4.6a: Anthropometric status of secondary school adolescents 64
4.6b: Anthropometric status of secondary school adolescents 65
4.7a: Distribution of the adolescents according to their mean academic performances 67
4.7b: Distribution of the adolescents according to their academic performances 68
4.8a: Distribution of the students according to relationship between academic performance and dietary habits 70
4.8b: Distribution of the students according to relationship between academic performance and nutritional status 71
Nutrition is a fundamental pillar of human life, health and development through the entire life span (Nicholson, 2006). Good nutrition refers to the intake of adequate diet which supplies the essential nutrients to meet the entire body's requirements (Joshi, 2002). Malnutrition is a state of nutrition in which there is a deficiency of one or more nutrients (Doswett et al., 2005). Nnakwe (2009), also reported that malnutrition constitute a major health problem, not only in developing countries, but in many developed parts of the world which leads to an increase in illness, infection and iron deficiency, and also poor academic performance which can lead to grade repetition and an increase in psychological issues (Alaimok et al., 2001).
Adolescents according to the World Health Organization (WHO) (2005), refer to individuals between the age of 10-19 years and they make up to 20% of the world’s population. Adolescents are the wealth of the nation, as they constitute one of the important segments of the population (Upadhayaya, 2001). A foundation of good health and sound mind is laid during the school aged period. It is therefore a basic milestone in the life of an individual and is responsible for many change that take place during later life (Rawat et al., 2012). Adolescence is considered as dynamic period of growth and development, because adolescent; undergo physical, mental, emotional and social changes. Best et al. (2010), also emphasized that the dietary habit of adolescent impact their health, cognitive ability and subsequently their educational achievement. Therefore, they need nutritious breakfast to start a day, a complete lunch that satisfies approximately one third of the day’s requirements and a satisfying meal at the end of the day (Rampersaud et al., 2005).
Estimation of the body size such as height, weight are required for assessment of growth, nutritional status, calculating body surface area and predicting pulmonary function of children (Gauld and Rahhir, 2004; Amishybari et al., 2000). Adesina et al., (2012) also reported that combination of energy demands of adolescents, growth and inadequate diet has contributed a lot to the poor weight status of adolescents. In line with this, studies on adolescents weight status have focused on under nutrition and obesity as reported by (Benefice et al.,2003; Leenstra, 2005; Nwokoro et al., 2006), Adesina et al.(2012) also supported that under nutrition has caused detrimental effects, as it affects their ability to learn and work at maximal productivity.
Dietary assessment consist of the gathering of data to identify individuals who require special care, determine the cause and degree of malnutrition and determine the potential risk for developing the malnutrition or related complications (Gibson, 2002). He continued to emphasize that dietary determinant is particular in adolescent; because early detection and intervention can prevent permanent disorders. According to Joshi (2002) dietary habit is a condition of the body as it relates to the consumption and utilization of food. Poor nutrition refers to an inadequate or even excess intake or poor utilization of nutrient to meet the body’s requirement (Brown et al., 2008).
Snacking is a way of life of adolescents and is a popular contributor to their energy needs. It is therefore necessary to provide energy dense snacks; for them. Adolescence is an opportune setting to provide health and nutrition services to disadvantaged adolescents (Best et al., 2010). Poor nutrition leaves students susceptible to illness or lead to headaches and stomach aches, resulting in absence from school. (Brown et al., 2008).
1.1 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Overweight and underweight adolescents perceive themselves as “average” despite possessing a considerable amount of body fat (Kargawa et al., 2007) even when their body weight are normal. Youths within the adolescent age (13-19) are conscious of their appearance and how others feel about them and because of the recent trend in similar and slender body shape, they trend to engage in activities that could be detrimental to their health, consumption of foods with fewer calories and even total evidence of food. The malpractices of food habits among them. This situation creates major health problems such as malnutrition/anemia and eating disorders among the adolescents population (African Medical Research council, 2010). This has become a major social issue that may lead to further problems in the future generations such as low birth weight babies (Marlow and Redding, 1998). Research carried out showed that out of 400 participants, 270 (67.5%) were having unhealthy dietary pattern (Sukamaki, 2005).
Also study carried out in Poland showed that 8.8% of adolescents aged 13-15 were over weighted and 4.5% obese (Oblacinska and Jodkowska, 2007). On the other hand, the results from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) indicated that adolescents in US aged 12-19 are under weight(Center for Diseases Control) (CDC)(2006) and according to the data from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) (2003-2006) for adolescents aged 12-19.The impact of obesity extend beyond physical health consequence. Studies shows decreased high school performance in over weight adolescents and one half college accept once rates to elite universities. Compared with normal weight adolescent with similar test scores (Rehmans et al.,2003).
A longitudinal study of 16-24 year olds found that overweight women completed 0-3 years less schooling and had lower household incomes and higher poverty rates (Doak et al., 2002). Obese children from certain groups tend to have lower levels of self-esteem (Bell and Morgan, 2000). A recent longitudinal study demonstrated decreased self-esteem with increased body fat. Increased BMI also is associated with a greater number of depressive symptoms in adolescent girls. Anorexia, bulimia and eating disorder not otherwise specified eating disorders are no longer a condition of “we daughters of well-to-do, educated and successful families”, as they originally were characterized, and dietary habits have been found to affect all socioeconomic and major ethnic groups. The finding follows from the reality that eating disorders are prevalent in diverse individuals and from the recognition that eating disorders have multiple determinants that are rooted in biologic, psychological and social issues. Eating disorders often occur in conjunction with other problems, such as anxiety disorders, depression and substances abuse (Neumark-Sztaine, 2009).
Adolescent who have eating disorders experience serious morbidity and high mortality, particularly as result of anorexia nervosa. Finally the challenge of under nutrition in adolescents has detrimental effects, as it affects their ability to learn and work at maximum productivity and sexual maturation. Therefore, it is necessary to explore the dietary habits among adolescents in Bende which is the study area, as the youths in the area may be affected by psychological views about their dietary habit.
1.2 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The general objectives of this study is to assess the dietary habits and academic performances of adolescents in Bende Local Government Area of Abia State.
The specific objectives are to:
i. Assess the personal characteristics of the adolescents and socioeconomic status of their parents.
ii. Assess the dietary habits of adolescents using 24 hours dietary recall and food frequency questionnaire.
iii. Examine the academic performances of the adolescents, using their cumulative class average and scores.
iv. Determine the relationship between academic performance and dietary habits of the adolescents.
1.3 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This research study will provide adequate information of the adolescents, particularly their vulnerability thereby helping community nutritionist, welfare, government, policy makers and extension workers in educating these adolescents as these will help improve their academic performance.
It will also serves as a review on the present nutritional knowledge on the adolescents population in Bende Local Government Area, therefore generating information which could be useful to the agencies; like Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture, the health practioners like Medical Doctors and Dieticians. In implementation of nutrition programmes that involves adolescents. For instance, the Ministry of Health to provide a good nutritionist that will educate the adolescents on adequate diet and also Ministry of Education to make sure that all the equipment or the facilities that the school needed are equipped for the students to study in good environment.
For the Ministry of Agriculture to improve in their products (crop varieties, improved seedlings)so that there will be no scarcity or poor form of product, so that everybody can access food and for the well being of the youth (adolescents). Furthermore, the study would be beneficial in helping nutritionist in the selection and modification of food for the adolescents through the assessment of the dietary pattern. To the future researchers, this study can provide baseline information on the recent status of the adolescent in Bende Local Government Area.
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