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IJHSR. 2016; 6(12): 227-234

Nutritional Status and School Performance among Upper Primary Children in Selected Public Schools in Nairobi County, Kenya.

Githinji Phrashiah, Chege Peter, Githinji Scolastica.

Background/Aim: School-age is a critical period during which adequate nutrition is considered an important factor that affects learning capabilities. There is an emergence of the dual burden of malnutrition among children in urban setups like Nairobi and yet there is limited information on the effect of these on school performance. Research has shown that nutritional status affects children’s development. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between nutritional status on school performance among children in upper primary in selected public schools in Nairobi County, Kenya.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional analytical study. The study comprised of randomly selected 256 children from public schools within Nairobi County.
Results: The study confirmed that there is concurrent dual burden of malnutrition among adolescent school children in Nairobi County; (8.6% were overweight while 9% were undernourished). Children with higher Z-scores/ BMI were found to be more likely to be inactive during field games and they preferred sitting in the field during physical activities (P ≤ 0.05). Children within normal weight for their age showed higher chances of performing well in classroom activities such as completion of assignments (P ≤ 0.05). However, the study showed no correlation between nutritional status and attendance.
Conclusion: Children’s nutritional status influences their school performance in extra-curriculum activities namely; filed games and school clubs as well as completion of homework assignments.

Key words: Nutritional status, school performance, extra-curriculum activities, classroom activities, attendance.

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