The effect of Iodine Deficiency on the Academic Performance of School Children in Sodo Town, Southern Ethiopia

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Addis Abeba Universty


Background: There are many reasons for children to underperform at school because of poor nutritional status, below average intelligence, socio-cultural environment and other environmental factors. Iodine deficiency disorder is a public health problem worldwide including Ethiopia and it is the major cause of preventable brain damage in children. Although there are studies on iodine deficiency in the country, its effect on academic performance is not well documented. Objective: This study intended to assess effect of Iodine Deficiency on academic performance of school children in Wolaita Sodo town, Southern Ethiopia. Methods: School based comparative cross sectional study on a sample population of 270 children with goiter and 264 without goiter was conducted in a purposively selected primary school in Sodo town, Southern Ethiopia from Dec. 2010 to Feb 2011. Total students in each class were examined for the presence of goiter and classified based on WHO recommendation. For every child with goiter, next child without goiter was selected from the same class. Pre-tested structured questionnaire was used to collect data on socio-demographic factors and information on students’ academic performance was obtained from the school record. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was employed to see the effect of independent variables on the outcome variable. Ethical clearance was obtained from Research Ethics Committee of School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, Addis Ababa University. Result: Among children with goiter higher proportion (54.8%) were females and proportion increase with age. Consuming foods (cabbage and cassava) was significantly associated with goiter (AOR=1.9; 95%CI=1.2, 2.9). The odds of scoring low school performance was higher among, children whose fathers were illiterate (AOR=1.9; 95%CI=1.1, 3.5) and absenteeism of more than four days (AOR=1.5; 95%CI=1.1, 2.21). Goiter was significantly associated with low academic performance (AOR=1.8; 95%CI=1.2, 2.5). Conclusion and recommendation: Goiter rate is significantly associated with consumption of goiterogens. Presence of goiter has negative effect on academic performance. Awareness on endemic goiter and its impact on school performance and emphasis on prevention and control by concerned bodies is recommended to alleviate the problem



The effect of Iodine Deficiency on the Academic Performance