This work focus on the health implication of poor food intake on preschool children in
Afikpo North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, the main purpose of the
study is to identify the food intake, to examine the effect of poor nutrition
on a intellectual performance, to determine the influence of junk food on a
child health. The significant or relevant of this study was also stated in this
research chapter. Lastly the scope of the study was drowned and the term used
were properly defined. The area of study is Afikpo North the population of the
study is 3295 preschool, 120 children was randomly selected and open ended
question and structure inventory was used to elicit information from the 120
mother on behalf of the children, frequency and percentage was applied for data
analysis. The data analyzed reveal that most children, consume high energy
dense food, and little vegetable and fruit. Based on the findings the
researcher recommended that parent should give their children natural food such
as fruit juice instead of processed drink and food.
Food intake is one of the requirements of any living
organism to grow and sustain life. But the quality and quantity of nutrient
necessary for normal growth and to keep an organism in good health during it’s
life span vary with the age of the organism, sex, height, weight, degree of
activity and rate of growth (National public health partnership, 2005).
Poor food refers to poor nutrition. It is food that fails
to provide the body with correct amounts and types of nutrients for maximum
health (Marcy, 2011). They are those food which are considered to be of poor
nutritive quality such as junk food, high fatty and sugary food, food with
little or no vitamin such as sweet food, cake, Cookies, Soda (Karratti, 2011).
Poor food is also known as unhealthy diet which means the diet that contains
too much saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sodium added sugar and
processed ingredient or little nutrient (Janet, 2010). Poor foods are high in
calories but low in nutritional content (Merriam, 2014).
Poor nutrition negatively impacts a child’s ability to
develop properly and adopt normally to certain situations. Poor food intake is
concerns with both under nutrition and over nutrition. Under nutrition involves
inadequate levels of energy and nutrients in the diet. Undernutrition in
children causes direct structural damage to the brain and impairs infant motor
development and exploratory behaviour (Kvamme, 2011). Children who are
undernourished are more likely to be stunted in adulthood, have lower education
achievement and economic status and gives birth to smaller infant. Undernutrition
is mainly a consequence of inadequate diet and frequent infection, leading to
deficiencies in calories protein, vitamin and minerals (National Health and
Medical Research Council, 2013). This can led to under weight. Underweight
children are at increased risk of mortality from infectious illnesses such as
diarrhea and pneumonia.
Poor food intake not only involve undernutrition, but it
also involves overnutrition, where energy intake from diet exceeds energy
expenditure which can led to overweight or obesity. This imbalance has been
linked to lifestyle factors, such as increased consumption of foods with high
level of sugar and saturated fats, as well as a reduction in physical activity
(World health organization, 2002). Poor food intake includes consuming oily
food, such as chip, fried item, burger bread and butter, Raw eggs, unwashed raw
vegetable and fruits (Anjum, 2010).
Poor food intake may have an injurious impact on health
causing deficiency diseases such as scurvy (Linus, 2011) kwashiorkor
(Medilinplus medical Encyclopedia, 2011) health threatening conditions like
obesity and metabolic syndrome and common chronic systemic diseases such as
cardiovascular diseases, (National Diabetes information clearing house, 2011)
and osteoporosis in later stage (Dietary supplement fact sheet, 2011).Poor food
intake result from poverty and a lack of education regarding healthy eating
Poor food intake entails eating inadequate diet. It has to
do with high intake of high energy dense foods; which is highly processed and
micro nutrient poor further diminishing their nutritional value. Energy dense
foods tend to be high in fat (e.g. butter, burger, oil, fried foods, sugar and
starch) (World Health Organization, 2002). Poor nutrition can led to a health
problem known as malnutrition.
entails a condition where diet does not contain the right balance of nutrient
(Ananya, 2012). Malnutrition is a nutrient deficiency state of protein, energy
or micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). It is the largest single contributor
to disease in the largest world (Nice, 2006). Malnutrition is a deficiency
disease caused by poor food intake. It occurs when the body does not get enough
nutrient, it results from inadequate or unbalanced diet, problem with digestion
and absorption and certain medical condition (Klein, 2011).Malnutrition can be
as a result of poverty, lack of education, food distribution, food shortage,
food price, climate change (USH choice, 2013).
Pre-school children are children between the age of 2-5
years. This stage can also be called early childhood. The brain at this stage
develop faster than any other part of the body, at this stage the brain of a 5
years has attained 90 percent of its adults weight (Turner, 2004). Preschool
children need proper nutritional attention because they are very active. At
this stage children nutritional status is been affected (Davidson, 2006). According
to children’s Defense fund (2008). children who do not have access to proper
nutrition are much more likely to suffer from psychological disorders such as
anxiety or learning disabilities. These children are also significantly more
likely to require mental health counseling. The nutrition a child receives
early in life has lasting impact on his development (Dokata, 2013). Poor food
intake, especially if for a prolonged period makes us more prone to illness and
injury, illness and injury can lead to a reduced appetites through a wide
variety of mechanism (Stratton 2007). The nutrition a child received during the
first few years of life can affect her health for years to come. Poor nutrition
in the first few years is irreversible (Pitcher, 2006).
Afikpo North is located in the southern part of Ebonyi State;
most children in Afikpo North suffer from malnutrition because of poor food
intake. Most preschoolers in Afikpo consumes much junk food and little
vegetable and this practice had caused many adverse health effect in the
children body. This prompted researcher to investigate on this study, the
health implication of poor food intake on preschool children in Afikpo North
Statement of the Problem
Malnutrition has become an epidemics that eat up the flesh
of the population of the people of Afikpo North. This is as a result of poor
food intake. Malnutrition is one of the health problem in Afikpo North local
government area leading cause of child mortality and morbidity. This has led so
many Afikpo children to their early grave.
Malnutrition is the main cause of overweight and underweight
which is the main cause of some health diseases such as osteoporosis, brain misfunction,
Anemia, beri beri, pellagra, teeth decay, psychological crippling, low academic
performance etc. Most parent in Afikpo North give their children much processed
food instead of natural vegetable and fruit and this practice had affected many
preschoolers health in Afikpo North. Malnutrition exists in some form in almost
every country, affecting many thousands of Afikpo children. Very poor diets,
when combined with poor health and frequent infection affect the body’s ability
to digest and absorb enough nutrients to meet up with nutritional needs. This
can lead to serious physical and psychological problems such as poor
intellectual ability, obesity, stunted growth etc. Most of the parents are
illiterate and ignorant of the implication of poor nutrition on the health of
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of the research work is the health
implication of poor food intake on preschool children in Afikpo North Local
Government. Specifically, the study sought
1. To determine the child’s food intake in Afikpo North Local
2. To determine the influence of poor nutrition on the
child’s health in Afikpo North Local Government Area.
3. To access the influence of poor nutrition on a child
intellectual performance in Afikpo North Local Government Area.
4. To determine the influence of junk food on the child’s
health in Afikpo North Local Government Area.
Significant of the Study
This study will be of great benefit to parent because it
will enlighten them on the implication of poor feeding practice on the health
of their children. The findings of this study will help them change from giving
their children much processed food and drinks. It will help them to improve the
nutritional status of their children in order to avoid diseases. It will help
the parent to know the appropriate recommended nutrient for their children.
The society will equally benefit because it will create
awareness on the dangers of poor nutrition and this will educate them on the
importance of healthy food intake.
The young researchers will benefit because this study will
serve as a guide for them when writing a project, they will equally make
references to this study when need be.
The school will benefit because it will enable them to
know the nutritional implication of some food and this will help them to make
right choices of food for students in the boarden houses. Healthy food practice
will help the school spend less money on health care. The government will
equally benefit because they can innate their policy from the study.
1. What are the child’s food intakes in Afikpo North Local
2. What are the influences of poor nutrition on the child’s
health in Afikpo North Local Government Area?
3. How does poor nutrition influence the child’s intellectual
development in Afikpo North Local Government Area?
4. How does junk food influence the health of preschool
children in Afikpo North Local Government Area?
Scope of the Study
The study is restricted to the health implication of poor
food intake on preschool children in Afikpo North Local Government Area of
Ebonyi State. The study will specifically look into the child’s food intake,
the influence of poor nutrition on the child’s health, the influence of poor
nutrition on the child’s intellectual performance and the impact of junk food
on the child health. The study is delimited to preschool children in Afikpo
North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.