Effects of nutritional status on academic performance of Malaysian primary school children.

Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Health (Impact Factor: 1.06). 02/2005; 17(2):81-7. DOI:10.1177/101053950501700204
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Numerous factors are known to affect the academic performance of students. These include prenatal conditions, birth conditions, postnatal events, nutritional, socio-economic factors and environmental factors. This paper examines the nutritional status and its relationship with academic performance of 9-10 years old primary school children recruited randomly in Selangor, Malaysia. A standard self-administered questionnaire was utilized to obtain pertinent information and a face-to-face interview was also conducted with the parents. Results of the academic performances were extracted from the students' report cards. The intellectual performance was assessed using Raven's Coloured Progressive Matrices. Physical examination was also conducted on these students by doctors. Overall 1,405 students and 1,317 parents responded to the survey. Of these 83.6% were Malays, 11.6% Indians, and 4.2% Chinese. The majority of them (82.9%) were from urban areas. The female: male ratio was 51:49; mean age was 9.71 years. The mean height and weight were 32.3 kg and 135.2 cm respectively. Their mean BMI was 17.42 kg/cm2, with 0.9% underweight, 76.3% normal BMI, 16.3% overweight, and 6.3% obese. Academic performance was significantly correlated with breast feeding, income and educational level of their parents, BMI, and whether they have been taking breakfast. There was a weak correlation between presence of anaemia and intellectual performance. Improving the socio-economic status of the parents will lend a helping hand in the academic performance of the students. Since breast feeding is associated with better academic and intellectual performance it must be emphasized, particularly to expectant mothers in the antenatal clinics.

0 0
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between gender, birth weight, nutritional status, and iron status of children with their academic performance and cognitive function. Two hundred and forty-nine children, seven to nine years of age, were recruited by systematic sampling from six primary schools in a rural area in Malaysia. Cognitive function was assessed by using Raven's Coloured Progressive Matrices (R-CPM). Academic performance of the children was recorded from their school final examination results in four subjects including Malay language, English, Mathematics, and Science. Birth weight was recorded from the birth certificate, and nutritional status was determined by weight-for-age z score and height-for-age z score. Girls had a significantly higher score in all the academic tests, but a lower cognitive score compared to boys. Nutritional status was found to be correlated significantly with academic performance. Academic and cognitive function scores were also found to be correlated significantly with birth weight, parents' education, and family income. In a multivariate analysis, gender remained the significant predictor of academic function, and iron status and haemoglobin were the significant predictors of cognitive function, after controlling for other variables. The study showed that girls performed better academically than boys in rural Malaysia. Nutritional status, parents' education and family income could be additional modifiable factors to improve academic performance of the children. More attention is needed to improve academic achievements of boys at their early school years.
    Malaysian Journal of Nutrition 08/2011; 17(2):189-200.
  • Source
    [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The association between breastfeeding and child cognitive development is conflicted by studies reporting positive and null effects. This relationship may be confounded by factors associated with breastfeeding, specifically maternal socioeconomic class and IQ. Systematic review of the literature. Any prospective or retrospective study, in any language, evaluating the association between breastfeeding and cognitive development using a validated method in healthy term infants, children or adults, was included. Extracted data included the study design, target population and sample size, breastfeeding exposure, cognitive development assessment tool used and participants' age, summary of the results prior to, and following, adjustment for confounders, and all confounders adjusted for. Study quality was assessed as well. 84 studies met our inclusion criteria (34 rated as high quality, 26 moderate and 24 low quality). Critical assessment of accepted studies revealed the following associations: 21 null, 28 positive, 18 null after adjusting for confounders and 17 positive-diminished after adjusting for confounders. Directionality of effect did not correlate with study quality; however, studies showing a decreased effect after multivariate analysis were of superior quality compared with other study groupings (14/17 high quality, 82%). Further, studies that showed null or diminished effect after multivariate analysis corrected for significantly more confounders (7.7±3.4) as compared with those that found no change following adjustment (5.6±4.5, p=0.04). The majority of included studies were carried out during childhood (75%) and set in high-income countries (85.5%). Much of the reported effect of breastfeeding on child neurodevelopment is due to confounding. It is unlikely that additional work will change the current synthesis. Future studies should attempt to rigorously control for all important confounders. Alternatively, study designs using sibling cohorts discordant for breastfeeding may yield more robust conclusions.
    BMJ Open 01/2013; 3(8):e003259. · 1.58 Impact Factor
  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: AIM: To identify the risk factors for scholastic backwardness in children. PARTICIPANTS: Children in the 6-12 year age group attending regular schools and referred to the child guidance clinic for scholastic backwardness. SETTING: Tertiary care hospital in South India. METHODS: Participants were compared with an age and sex matched group of children with good academic performance, to ascertain risk factors for scholastic backwardness. RESULTS: There were 75 boys and 35 girls in the study group. Among them 30 (27%) children had mental retardation and 39 (36%) had borderline intelligence. Microcephaly was present in 12 (11%) children. Under-nutrition was noted in 36 (33%) children and 31 (28%) had stunted growth. 28 (26%) children had a history of chronic medical problems like epilepsy, bronchial asthma and congenital heart diseases. Visual, hearing and speech defects were present in 6 (6%), 5 (5%) and 12 (11%) children respectively. Statistically significant differences were noted in the educational level and employment status of parents of children with scholastic backwardness and those with good academic performance. Chronic medical illnesses, perinatal problems, low birth weight, developmental delay, family history of mental illness or mental retardation and parental alcoholism were significantly increased in children with scholastic backwardness. CONCLUSION: Social and family factors have a significant influence on the academic functioning of children.
    Indian pediatrics 12/2012; · 1.04 Impact Factor