Nutritional Status and School Performance of Children benefited from School feeding program in Selected elementary School, Arada Sub city, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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Addis Ababa University


Background:-Malnutrition, temporary hunger, poor health condition and socioeconomic status of parents are among the many reasons for underperformance of children in school. School feeding program has been implemented in many countries in order to make students concentrate in their academic exercise. The government of Ethiopian in collaboration with development partners is piloting school feeding program in selected food insecure areas of the country. The effectiveness of the program is not yet evaluated. Objective: - The objective of this study was to assess the impact of school feeding program on nutritional status and academic performance of children in the selected schools Arada sub city, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Methods: - A School based cross sectional and comparative perspective cohort study was conducted in 4 randomly selected schools. Over all 234 primary students participated in the study. The students are randomly assigned for intervention (N=117) and control (N=117). The students were assessed for socio-demographic characteristics, biochemical test, dietary diversity score (DDS), food intake and anthropometric measurements. DDS and adequacy of food intake were determined using meal served for five consecutive days. All other parameters were assessed before and after the intervention as well as at six months for both the intervention and control group. The data were before and after the intervention and against the control group. Nutritional status was calculated using WHO (2007 growth standard. Result: -. The percentage of anemic students in fed and non-school fed groups before intervention was 35.5% and 38.5% respectively. Anemia has reduced to 18.9% and 35.5% for school fed and non-school fed group respectively after intervention. The reduction of anemia in the intervention group is significant (p<0.001). The overall stunting prevalence was (19.1%). Students who had anemia were less likely to achieve higher academic performance than those who hadn't (OR 0.58, 95% CI 0.41-0.83). The prevalence of underweight (BMI for age below the 5 percentile) in the study group was 15.1% and 21.5% for feeding and non-feeding group respectively. None of students in both groups were overweight. More number of students (55.6%) in school feeding group significantly (p=0.021academic score above mean value than non-school feeding group (47.9%).In this study, nutritional status shows significant association with academic performance (p=0.012). The mean of the students’ grade in the feeding program were 64.6 as compared to 59.5 which was before feeding program started. It is clear that that the school feeding contributed to students score improvement significantly (p=0.021). the proportion of students who scored above mean from school feeding program were 55.6% as compared to control group which is 47.9% the study indicate that more number of students from the feeding group score above mean than non-feeding group. The rate of absenteeism between the control intervention group is not significant (p=0.123).There is no significant (p=0.0875) difference in dropout and class repetition between school fed and non-school fed group. No significance difference in energy value between the schools (p=0.155). All of the four schools` meals contain inadequate level of calcium, zinc and magnesium but adequate level of iron. There was no significant difference in micronutrient contents between the schools. Conclusion: -The prevalence of wasting in the school was high it is likely to affect school performance. Although the duration of the study short nutritional status of the students is associated with good academic performance. Hemoglobin level was improved by school feeding program. Living in a large family size, low socio-economic status of the parents or guardian, inadequate amount of nutrient in food supplied, anemia and malnutrition are the cause of poor academic performance. The nutrient content and the energy supplied to the children through school feeding was below the recommended dietary allowance. The program need to consider quality and adequacy of the meal provided. Further longitudinal study may be needed to see the long term benefit of school feeding program. Key words: Nutrient composition; academic achievement; anemia, dietary diversity; and school feeding.



Nutrient composition; academic achievement; anemia, dietary diversity; and school feeding.