Influence of food insecurity on academic performance of secondary school students in Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi state
Background of the Study
Food insecurity in one of the global problems most especially in Nigeria. Food insecurity cannot be discussed without first of all knowing what food is all about, because it gives us a basic meaning while it has become epidemic in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state.
Food is as old as our progenitors. It is one of the three most indispensable needs of man. The other two being shelter and clothing. Food comes from the animals and plants origin. Food emanated from the time man began to hunt for animals. According to Paul Rozin (2005), human have a long history as searching for food, primates and a relatively short history as settled creatures with a secure food supply resulting from the advances of agriculture and domestication rather than our contemporary environment. In our ancestral home, securing enough food for survival was a serious challenge. In the process of searching for food, there is exposure to risks, such as earlier existing food, and the expenditure of energy. Given that searching food is essential but potentially dangerous and wasteful, and given that getting food is a very basic and persistent need. It is not surprising that there has been great evolutionary pressure to develop an efficient search for food.
Food according to Anyakoha (2003), “is a substance eaten to get energy for work, to promote growth and regulate body process” food is further defined as a substance, either solid or liquid which, when eaten, supplies the body with some necessary materials called nutrients. These nutrients are then absorbed and assimilated to perform some function in the body. Such functions include: Supply of heat and energy in form of calories, protecting the body against infection which cause diseases and health- hazard, removal of waste products that are not needed from the body.
Food is like fuel for the body with different nutrients for specific purposes. These nutrients include, water, carbohydrate, protein, vitamin, fats mineral. However, inappropriate utilization of these nutrients exposes the body system to all sorts of illness (weakness of immune system which can lead to poor academic achievement. Example, when a nursing mother (breast- feeding- mother) is low in nutrition, it will definitely affect the health, growth and development of the nursing-baby.
The term “insecurity” means uncertainty or lack of confidence. According to Alegre (2008), a person who is insecure lacks confidence in his value, lacks trust in himself or others; he deals with fears which may lead him to distress.
In international multidisciplinary Journal, Ethiopia, (2013, the first essential component of social and economic Justices is adequate production. Nigeria is a country richly blessed with abundant natural and human resources that if properly harnessed can feed the nation and export the surplus to other countries. Yet it is experiencing persistent food crisis both in terms of quality and quantity. Cases of malnutrition and under nutrition are growing day by day. Food intake requirements of majority of Nigerians have fallen far below the international standard. Past effort at improving food supply through agricultural production has not yielded successful results.
Food insecurity is the state of being without having reliable access to a sufficient quality of affordable nutritious food. According to food and Agricultural organization (FAO) (2004), “food insecurity is uncertain access by all people, at all times, to adequate food for an active and healthy lifestyle.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) (2012) “children from food insecure households are likely to be behind in their academic performance compared to other children which ultimately makes it difficult for them to reach the same level of academic performance as their fellow food secure pears”. Food insecurity makes it extremely difficultly for children to even reach their full potential as effective workers and members of society. Food is fuel, social vehicle, allowing people to think, reason, make social distinction and establish social linkage.
Therefore, food insecurity is when people lack sustainable physical, economic access to safe nutritious, and socially acceptable food for a healthy and productive life. It may be chronic, seasonal, or temporal. Nutritional consequences of insufficient food or under nutrition include protein energy malnutrition, anemia, vitamin A deficiency, iodine deficiency, and iron deficiency. About 60 percent of all child deaths in the world are associated with chronic hunger and malnutrition. Persistent malnutrition leaves children with weakness, vulnerable less able to fight such common childhood illness as diarrhea, acute respiratory infections, malaria, and measles.
Food insecurity is the opposite of food security. Food security, according to Stevenson (2001), is the effort made by individuals or a nation to ensure efficient production of agricultural products (crops, animals and drinks) as food sufficient for the well-being of man” From the above background, this research is conducted with a view to studying the influence of food insecurity on academic performance of secondary school students in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state.
Statement of the Problems
Food insecurity has become a global problems in economic policies, households as well as the activities of individuals in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state.
Children from food insecure households are likely to be lagging behind in their academic development compared to other children which ultimately makes it difficult for them to reach the level of development as their fellow food secure pear.
Inadequate nutrition put children at risk for illness and weakness of their immune system. Immature immune system of young children, age from birth to 5 years make them especially vulnerable to nutritional deprivation and as a result, the ability to learn, grow, and fight infections is adversely affected.
A critical component to a healthy life is nutrition. From birth the intake of vital nutrients is essential to the growth and development of a health individual academic achievement and economic productivity. Unfortunately, hunger is an obstacle to health function as a result of food insecurity in Ohwukwu local government area of Ebonyi state. Jenifer, Nelson, and Katherine, Zerntky, (2013) opined that “American might be the bread basket of the world but many Americans are hungry. Many families are coping with food insecurity, which means they are unable to acquire enough because of insufficient money or other resources”. United states department of Agriculture (USDA) (2012) state that 15.9 million children under 18 years in the united state live in the condition- unable to consistently access to nutritious and adequate amounts of food necessary for healthy life as a result of food insecurity.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to examine the influence of food insecurity on academic performance of secondary school students in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state. Specifically, the study tends:
- To determine the factors that influence food availability and accessibility to students in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state.
- To ascertain the impacts of food availability on students’ school activities in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state.
- To find out ways of ensuring food availability to students’ well-being in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state.
Significance of the Study
The benefit of this study will be useful to the students, teachers, parents and the government in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state.
Education is important tool for national development, the competence of the students to meet the aims of education can be actualized in the light of major objectives of the study. Therefore, will increase students’ learning abilities and the spirit of self defeatism in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state.
The study will improve students’ healthy life thereby increasing number of secondary school graduates in Ohuakwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
The study will assist teachers to fully understand the individuality of each student for whom they are responsible, their positive transformation, evaluative education and good health.
The study will inspire parents’ ability to send their children to school as a result of food security. This therefore, will help to improve academic attainment of children in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state.
The study will help to brighten the image of schools in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state by encouraging governments’ unquantifiable services to establish more schools for students as a result of academic improvement.
In the light of the objective of this study, the following research questions have been asked to guide the study.
- What are the factors that cause food availability and accessibility for student’s learning abilities in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state.
- What are the impacts of food availability on students’ school activities in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state?
- What are the ways of ensuring food availability of students’ well-being, to enhance their academic competence in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state?
Scope of the Study
The study is aimed at finding influence of food insecurity on academic performance of secondary school students in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state.
The study covers factors that influence food availability and accessibility to students, impacts of food availability on students’ school activities and the ways of ensuring food availability to students’ well-being in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state. The study covers three communities namely: Effium, Izzaih and Izzangbo in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state.
The study is limited to only Junior and senior secondary school students in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state.
REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE
The review of related literature was carried out under the following sub- headings:
Conceptual frame work
Review of related empirical studies
Summary of related literature
Conceptual frame work:
This will be discussed under the following headings.
- The factors that influence food availability and accessibility
- The impacts of food availability
- The ways of ensuring food availability
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