THE EVALUATION OF THE NUTRITIONAL PROBLEMS OF SECONDARY SCHOOL CHILDREN IN YALA LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF CROSS RIVER STATE

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background Of The Study

          Hunger and Malnutrition remain the most devastating problem facing the majority of the Yala people in Cross River State of Nigeria. It is observe that Yala Local Government Area in Cross River state is surrounded with fertile land and food availability yet hunger and malnutrition exist in some forms in almost every corner (Odey, 2002).

          Nutrition as we all know is an important factor in health maintenance and promotion. It is closely related to good health and well-being, performance and productivity (Ojo, 2003).

          It is generally believed that health of an individual depend on the kind of food the individual takes. According to Daran (1990), the science of nourishing, the body to functions the body needs certain chemical substances for which the general term is nutrient. Some of this nutrient cannot be digested by the body at least not in amount sufficient to satisfy the need for them. Some other nutrient can be produced in the body. Martin (1999) defined nutrition as the science that deals with the food we eat, the food required by living organism, and how the food are utilized by the living organism and how the waste product are dealt with. According to Rubert (198), “the human body is the product of it’s nutrition. Nutrition begins with the foodstuffs and proceed to the materials and result, the living body and it’ functions”, the advantages of nutrition in maintaining a good health cannot be over emphasized. The picture even become so clearer if one should take a critical assessment of the problems of malnutrition in our society especially as it affects young children. For clear understanding based on the above topic giving rise to a brief discussion of the geographical and socio-cultural background in Yala local government area and the populance. Yala Local government located in the Northern part of Cross River State of Nigeria. The greater population of Yala people are involved in too main occupation which are: farming and training, while any other job they do apart from the ones mentioned above are secondary occupation. Based on their primary occupation, the major food crops produced by Yala peoples are yam, Rice and cassava. It will therefore amount to over statement if it is said that the local farmers in in Yala are yet to know the importance of protein giving food such as vegetable, poultry and meat. Proteins, which enhance good health when taken along side with carbohydrates. Fruits are reserved for the more wealthy and educated class who knows the importance. Children whose growth is impaired by malnutrition have exhibited considerable ability to catch up on diets that are high in calories and adequate in protein and that prolong, severe nutritional deprivation may cause permanent deficiencies in growth and in brain development. Zee (2000), in his view said that the school age child in developing country survives from high infant morality rates, but many have been well handicapped before school age is attained. Malnutrition in Nigeria, a typical situation affects mainly the pre-school and primary/secondary school children and evidence resulting from research has shown that children within the school age are neglected and malnutrition. Hence the attempt to evaluate those nutritional problems of secondary school children with the hope of proffering possible way out of the situation.

Statement of Problem

          Despite all the fertile land and food availability in Yala Local Government area of Cross River Sate. Yet hunger and malnutrition still remain the most devastating problems facing majority of the people in that area.

          According to Isewon (1999), he said that malnutrition leads to poor academic performance among secondary school children in Yala local government area. It was because of this that led the researcher trying to investigate the problems facing by a secondary school children in Yala local government area of Cross River State and to profer solutions to the problem. It was also as a result of nutritional deficiencies or excess of one or more essentials nutrient in food taken. Moreso, excess of any of these foods required nutrient in the body such as protein, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and so on may result to one or more of this disease like diabetes, obesity, indigestion etc. Isewon (1999) said that another factors responsible for the problems of nutrition in school children are the size of the family. There is hardly enough money for the polygamous family to provide three square meals a day and a balance one for the family. This affects polygamous children greatly. Therefore the amount of food in the diet full short of below a certain level. There is loss of body weight leading to the body acceptability to disease malnutrition. Gibson (2000), was of the view that malnutrition occurs in children due to ignorance and bad habit of feeding patterns adopted by mother and parents. This causes the children to fall into some diseases, which will affect their future life. That if these are not curbed, a lot of problems of malnutrition will continuously occur thereby decreasing the children academic performance. Odusote (1999), said that when children are not properly fed, the degree of their concentration in the class will be reduced. That the physical or psychomotor ability of the children will also be reduced. It is as a result of all this that motivated the researcher embark on this study.

Purpose of the study

          The study generally is to evaluate the nutritional problems of secondary school children in Yala local Government Area of Cross River State. Specifically the study will investigate on the following:

  1. To identify the nutritional problems of secondary school children in Yala local government area.
  2. To determine the causes of nutritional problem in Yala local Government.
  3. To find out the effect of nutritional problem among school children.
  4. To find out the way to reduce nutritional problems among school children

Significance Of The Study

          This study is of a great significant to the following:

          It is important to all the secondary school children in yala local government are because if will correct the students by having a regular family meals in correct proportion of food intake which will also help in building their body and to improve in them rapid academic performance. Educators and parents are not left behind in this study as they will benefit greatly in knowing the need to fee their children with accurate food proportion and a balanced diet and to know how well at mean to take care of the children for they will be disease from children. The public, communities, and above all, the government is also of a great benefit, to this study as the government will establish a means of providing good food to children in secondary school in order to correct the nutritional problems in Yala local government area. It is hoped that as a result of this study, children will be helped in improving their standard of living and the health status of the school children would be improved through proper planning of the children daily meals in it’s correct proportion to the children in Yala local government area. The study as pinpointed above is significant to students, parents, the whole nation in general.

Scope Of The Study

          This study has it’s focus on the evaluation of nutritional problems of secondary school children in Yala local government area of Cross River State. Identifying the ways of children proper feeding which will contribute greatly to the growth of the children in everything.

Research Questions

     The following are the research question use in the research work namely.

  1. What are the nutritional problems among secondary school children in Yala local government area?
  2. What are the causes of nutritional problems among school children.
  3. What are the effects of nutritional problems among school children.
  4. What are the strategies for reducing nutritional problems.
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