PROJECT TOPIC- FACTORS AFFECTING THE NUTRITIONAL STATUS OF WOMEN IN OHAUKWU LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF EBONYI STATE
- Background of the Study
This research work is on the factors affecting the nutritional status of women in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. This work is aimed to help move forward the noble objectives elaborated by (ICN) infection control nurse. It is hoped that a comprehensive text that describes the nature of the problems, their causes and ways to review highlighting international food and nutrition issues can help to bring the most important issues into perspective. In the causes of this research, it is necessary that we should know the meaning of nutritional status, the different perspectives of nutrition and the roles it plays in the life of women.
According to A Dictionary of food and Nutrition (2005) nutritional status is defined as the condition of the body influenced by diet, the levels of nutrients in the body and the ability of those levels to maintain normal metabolic integrity. Vitamins and minerals are normally determined by laboratory tests, either measuring the blood and urine concentrations of nutrients and their metabolites or by testing for specific metabolic responses. According to Anyakoha and Eluwa (1991) define nutrition as food or nourishment needed to keep an organism growing, healthy and viable. It refers to the process of providing or receiving food of other life supporting substances. It is also referred as right type of food for good health and growth.
According to Dobert, (1991). Some cultural or religious custom does not allow people use, or talk about some types of food as people find it offensive or embarrassing such cultural conception affect the nutrition of women. For example foods such as snails (which is a proteinous food), Oil been (which is African fermented protein and many others are being discourage not to be eaten by women.
Furthermore, the custom and tradition such as widowhood observances like drinking water from the bathed corpse, staying three months without bating, staying indoors without going to market or visiting friends, these are cultural factors which affect the women nutrition.
There are many different types of nutrients. Generally, nutrient can be divided into six major categories or six class of food.
Water: water is the most important nutrients for human beings; without it, the body cannot survive, water does not produce energy, it provides essential hydration. Staying hydrated is vital since the human body is made up of 70 percent water.
Proteins: these are the building blocks of life. Proteins make up every tissue and structure in the body. They are important for muscles repair, growth, providing energy, heat and transporting nutrients into the blood stream. Protein can be found in variety of sources, but most notably in meat. Fish, poultry, eggs, beans and nuts are also excellent sources of protein.
Vitamins: These can be taken as supplements, but if you maintain a balanced and health diet, supplements are rarely needed; vitamins are important for building the immune system combating infections and regulating body functions. Fruits, vegetables and grains are full of vitamins such as vitamin C, Vitamin A, Vitamin E and vitamin K. they are all important vitamins for maintaining body functions.
Minerals: These help the body work properly by helping build tissues and regulate bodily fluids. Minerals are important in human body, some of the most important ones are calcium. Potassium, Sodium, Magnesium, and Iron. These are in meats, grains and milk.
Carbohydrates: These are the body’s primary source of energy, provide the necessary power to keep important organs such as the heart and brain running smoothly. There are two classes of carbohydrates simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are sugars such as table sugar and corn syrup. While, complex carbohydrates are grains, such as rice pasta and potatoes. Complex carbohydrates provide long-term energy, as opposed to simple carbohydrates, which tend to burn off quickly.
Fats and Oil: These essential nutrients have gotten a bad reputation from the media and the fad diet crowd, contrary to popular belief, it is an important element in a well-balanced diet. Fats are not only used for energy, but for temperature regulation. Fats should be consumed in moderation, eating too much of them can lead to fat strong in the body.
Fat can be saturated or unsaturated. Saturated fats are animal fats such as meat, bulter and hard, and have been linked to certain types of cancers and heart disease. While unsaturated fats are in vegetable oils, and are healthy than saturated fats. Omega-3 fatty acids, in cold-water fish such as salmon, are considered not only healthy, but beneficial.
The classes of food or nutrients listed above are basically recommended in every women, but the quantity intake of any of them depend on the age of the women, to achieve the balanced diet that we are targeting.
According to Anyakoha and Eluwa (1991) the study of nutrition covers the types of food needed to keep an organism thriving and the means by which the organism derives nourishment by the digestion process. Every living thing needs, proper nutrition to survive. For human needs, nutrition can be as basic as or as complex as a four square meals.
Nutritional status is the balance between the intake of nutrients by an organism and the effect of these in the process of growth, reproduction and health maintenance. This process is highly complex and quit individualized; nutritional status assessment can be directed at a wide variety of aspects of nutrition. This range from nutrient levels in the body, to the products of their metabolism, and to the functional processes they regulate.
In the western world, health is often spoken of in the sense of ill health that is as a pathological condition that can be verified by clinical examination. However, health is actually a multidimensional state, and conceptualizations of health very from country to country and from person to person, recognizing these multiple dimension.
According to WHO World Health Organization (1990) defined health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity.
Food and Agriculture organization (2013) stipulated that the ill health of women is evaluated from both epidemiological and anthropological perspectives. In the epidemiological perspective women’s health usually is equated with reproductive performance defined in terms of infant outcomes. When a women’s health is conceptualized in terms of maternal outcomes due to conditions related to pregnancy during the gestation period, birth, and pure premium 10,000 live (births). For females life expectancy. For many countries, this may be the only health statistics on women available on the national scale.
Etienne (1994) stipulated that each year, around half a million women, die from causes related to child bearing and 99% of these deaths take place in developing countries. Direct causes (hemorrhage, toxemia, obstructed labour and abortion), diseases, infection and poor nutrition. The conditions are aggravated by poor nutritional status example mortality rates from hemorrhage.
A useful definition of women’s health should encompass all aspects of women’s lives including reproductive roles (child birth, biological reality (menstrual cycles) and the social context in which women exist, work, and age. The following broader definition of women’s health has been suggested. A woman’s health is her total well being, not determined solely by biological factors and reproduction, but also by effects of work load, nutrition, stress, war, migration, among others.
Azzikarin and Midhet (1991) estimated prevalence anemia among women and pregnant women between the ages of fifty to fourty-nine years. They reported that iron deficiency anemia result from inadequate intake of iron-rich food, loss during event etc.
In an anthropological perspective comments that a healthy women has good control over her mind and thoughts, does not worry over all problems in life or get angry easily, never gives up her mind, the future fate of her daughter is difficult pregnancy and financial hardships. Women who had ten (10) or more years of being of the highest socio-economic status under scored behavior as signs of good health.
Culture is one of the factors that affect the nutritional status of women. Culture is defined as the sum total of what individuals learn in common with other members of the group to which they belong;
According to Igbo and Anugwon (2001) these generally learned and shared ways of doing things that are peculiar to a given society under the umbrella of culture. Culture can also be seen as the most peculiar and unifying property of a society, people are born, live and die in a society but culture remains.
In other words, culture is super organic. Culture is transmitted from one generation to another and the transmission goes on endlessly with the culture undergoing some changes to suit the demands of society at each period.
Tylor (1891) defined culture as that complex aspect of the society which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, customs, capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society”.
Clifford (2002), postulated culture as a system of inherited conceptions expressed in symbiotic forms by means of which human beings communicate, perpetuate and develop their knowledge about and their attitudes towards life”.
PROJECT TOPIC- FACTORS AFFECTING THE NUTRITIONAL STATUS OF WOMEN IN OHAUKWU LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF EBONYI STATE
- Statement of the Problem
This research is considered to be of great important mostly to Ohaukwu Local Government for the fact that most women are denied their formal education by their parents/guardians. Some women engaged themselves as Labourers as a means to earn a living and support themselves financially, it involves only the less privileged, the young mothers do this work even when they are pregnant, they clamp story buildings with their pregnancy carrying mixed concrete on their head. There by risking their life and the life of the unborn child. This affect their health and their nutritional status.
The fact that women occupy a vital position in the development of any given economy and play a major role in the family in terms of housekeeping and economic support among others. In other to support the family financially they find themselves indulging in both at the formal and informal sectors that expose them to health and nutritional backwardness; most often this is due to cultural barriers and low socio-economic characteristics of the women which include low education, sex discrimination, poor work environment etc.
These problems have made the Local Government chairman of Ohaukwu to employ health workers to be going round the communities teaching and educating the women on nutritional status.
- Research Questions
Therefore, the following research questions were constructed to guide the study.
- What cultural practices affect the nutritional status of women?
- What are the factors leading to poor nutritional status of women?
- What are the measures put in place to improve the nutritional status of women?
- To what extent does socio-economic problems contribute to the poor nutritional status of women?
- Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to ascertain the factors affecting the nutritional status of women in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. Other specific purpose of the study as follows:
- To indentify the cultural practices that affect nutritional status of women in Ohaukwu Local Government Area.
- To determine the nutritional status of women in Ohaukwu Local Government Area.
- To suggest measures to improve on the nutritional status of women in Ohaukwu Local Government Area.
- To find out how socio-economic problems contribute to the poor nutritional status of women.
- Need/Significance of the Study
The study is on the factors affecting the nutritional status of women in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi state.
It is expected that on the completion of this study, it will play the following significant roles as thus:
The study will make women to be well groomed and enhance their knowledge of nutritional status.
To this effect, information gathered from this study will be of immense help to the implementation of nutrition of women.
The result of this study could be used by government to reduce the specific problems that affect the nutrition of women in Ohaukwu Local Government Area.
The study will be an eye opener to unmarried people to improve their knowledge of nutritional status of women in Nigeria before their own time of marriage.
This study will serve as resource materials for reference purpose and guide for frontline social workers and other professionals.
Policy makers can also make use of the findings to improve their policy on nutritional status of women.
However, the researcher is very optimistic that this study will be fruitful to all and sundry who may decide to make use of it when the nutrition of women are involved.
- Operational Definition of Terms
The researcher define some of the operational concepts as they will occur and be used in this research work. Definition will help us to avoid any ambiguity in terms some of the concept to be defined as follows.
Nutritional status: This is referred to the condition of the body influenced by diet; the levels of the nutrients in the body and the ability of those levels to maintain normal metabolic integrity.
Culture: This is a complete whole which include knowledge beliefs, act, morals, law, customs and habits acquired by man as a member of a society. Culture is simply put is the people’s way of life.
Nutrition: Nutrition can be defined as food or nourishment needed to keep an organism growing, health and viable. It also refers to the process of providing or receiving food or other life supporting substances.
Poverty: This is a condition where people’s basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter cannot be met. Poverty is generally of two types.
Absolute poverty: This is synonymous with destitution and occurs when people cannot obtain adequate resources (Measured in terms of calories or nutrition) to support a minimum level of physical health.
Relative poverty: This occurs when people do not enjoy a certain minimum level of living standards. As determined by the bulk of the population that vary from country to country, sometimes within the same country.
Women: Women can be define as female adult gender that range from thirty (30) years and above with define and undefined characters. A women within this range may bear children or without children, depends on what nature assign to the person. The bible define women as those that have God mine characters that accommodate and work for the goodness of her family and outside whether children or no children. Undefined women are those women who hardly be contented with what they have and always harsh to themselves together with their surrounding environment.
- Scope/Delimitation of the Study
The study as regards the scope or delimitation is totally concentrated on the factors affecting the nutritional status of women with a special focus to Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
Ohaukwu Local Government Area is made up of thirteen autonomous communities. The communities are as follow; Nsulakpa, Amaike, Amaeshi, Umuegara, Umuogudu Akpu, Umuogudu Oshia, Ekwashi, Uk,wagba, Okposhi Eshi, Amoffia, Emezaka, Okposi Eheku and Effium. Out of these communities only five key ones used are Umuogudu Akpu, Umuogudu Oshia, Ekwa Shi, Ukwagba and Okpsohi Eshi.
These five (5) key ones were used for the entire areas because they represent a fair living peace for a grade number of the inhabitants and have a fairly uniform culture across them. Because of limited materials and human resources, the researcher selected five communities to write on.
The total population of citizens in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State is about 195, 555.