The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of nutrition on the intelligence of primary school pupils in selected primary schools in Oyo Township. Much of the literature reviewed confirmed that nutrition has a direct effect on neurotransmitters which are important in sending messages from the body to the brain. The descriptive survey research was used for this study. The population of this study comprises of the entire nursery school teachers at pre-primary level within Oyo metropolis. The sample of one hundred questionnaires was used to gather information from respondents and simple percentage was used to analyse the result.
1.2 Background of the Study
Nutrition is a fundamental pillars of human life, health and development across the entire life span. From the earliest stages of fetal development, at birth, through infancy, childhood adolescence, and into adulthood and old age, proper food and good nutrition are essential for survival, physical growth, mental development, performance and productivity, health And well-being [FAC/WHO,1992,WHO,2000]. Evidence has shown that physical growth and cognitive development in children are faster during early years of life, and that by the age of four years, 50% of the adult intellectual capacity has been attained and before thirteen years 92% of adult intellectual capacity is attained [Vernon, 1976].
Evidence has shown that 4% of the total children born in developing countries die of malnutrition before they are five years old [Toriola,1990] and that the most affected are usually the children of illiterate parents in low socio-economic brackets that have low purchasing power in the economy [Adekunle, 2005]. Quite a number of studies have shown that poor feeding and or recurrent infections as a result of poverty leads to stunted growth, sub stained brain impairment, low intellectual competence and capacity to learn to children [Kerr and Black, 2000; Lvanovic etal, 2002, chang etal, 2002, Braveman and Gruskin, 2003, Liu etal, 2003].
Strong evidence exists that poor feeding practices is associated with stunted growth and delayed mental development [Mendez and Adair, 1999]; and that there is a relationship between impaired growth status an d poor school performance and intelligence quotient [PAHO, 1998]. The relate between brain size and intelligence has been documented [Strupp and Levitsky, 1995; Florey etal, 1995], and that a significant correlation exists between head circumference and intelligence quotient (IQ). This suggest that different in human brain size could be relevant in explaining the difference in intelligence and academic performance although genetic and environmental factors like socio-economic, socio-culture and psychological factors could be direct or indirect co-determinants of both intelligence and school performance [Vernon etaL, 2000, Wickett et al 2000]. The head circumference is a physical index of both past nutrition and brain development and a good predictor of later intelligence of child [Botting et al, 1998], and it is used as the most sensitive anthropometric index of prolonged under nutrition during the infancy, associated with intellectual impairment [Ivanovic, 1996].
1.2 Statement of the problem
This research paper attempts to look at researches that address the relevance of nutrition and its effects of nutrition on the intelligence of the primary school pupils. The research will help develop possible steps that schools can take to ensure that their food programs adhere to the high standards of federal nutrition guidelines that are based upon the latest research. The question remains concerning the limited states department of Agriculture (USDA) and if their nutritional guidelines closely follow the latest research in nutritional health and its effects on brain development and cognition. The same concern for school breakfast and lunch programs exist, schools need to ensure that their programs follow the state and national guidelines parents need to make sure that their students are eating school program breakfasts and lunches if they are up to par with USDA guidelines. It is hoped that adequate research exist that is ready available to schools and parents so that children have the opportunity to be nutritionally healt6hy as possible for optimal brain function, cognitive development, positive social behaviors, and energy to carry out school activities.
1.3 Research Questions
This study attempts to answer the following questions;
- What role does nutrition play in students` cognitive development, learning academic performance, and social behaviors` in the school setting?
- Do parents give their children well balance nutrition?
- What effect can nutrition have on male and female primary school pupils?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The main objective of this study is to:
- Examine the effects of nutrition on the intelligence of primary school pupils.
- Identify the roles of nutrition on pupils cognitive development, learning academic performance and social behavior in the school setting.
- Identify the effect of malnutrition on pupils academic performance.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The research project would reveal the effect of nutrition and malnutrition on the intelligence of pupils in various primary schools in Oyo. It will also enlighten parent and teacher on proper feeding manner of their various children and pupils.
1.6 Scope of the Study
This study is limited to all primary schools in Atiba Local Government Area of Oyo state. The research is based on finding the effect of nutrition on the intelligence.
1.7 Definition of Terms.
Nutrition: is the scientific study of food and its relation to food or study and how it is used in the body.
Malnutrition: malnutrition is a condition which arises when the body is not getting the right amount of nutrients need for proper growth and development.
Food Insufficiency: Food insufficiency can be defined as an inadequate amount of food intake due to lack of resources (P.782).
Cognitive: Cognitive refers to the ways children reason (think), develop language, solve problems and gain knowledge.
Intelligence: This is learning the skills of understanding, memory and concentration, focuses on how children, learn and process information by using their senses (seeing, listening, touching, smelling and testing).