The relationship between nutrition and performance of pre-school children in Rabuor zone Kisumu county, Kenya
Apondi, Margaret K.
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Growth and development occurs more during the early childhood. It is imperative that children get proper nutrition both at home and in school. To support this, the government of Kenya, through the Ministry of Education has constantly advocated for the provision of centralized feeding programme in every pre-school. However, this has not been the case in Rabuor Zone where only about 18% of the pre-schools offer feeding programmes. Furthermore, statistics at the District Education office indicate that pre-school children perform poorly. So far limited studies have focused on the relationship between poor nutrition and learning performance of pre-school children in the Zone. This study therefore investigated the relationship between nutrition and performance of pre-school children in Rabuor Zone, Kisumu County, Kenya. It was guided by the following specific objectives: To assess the nutritional status among pre-school children in Rabuor zone Kisumu County, To establish how nutrition influences pre-school children academic performance in Rabuor zone Kisumu County, To establish the difference in performance of pre-school children from schools with feeding programmes and those without in Rabuor Zone and lastly to establish the approaches set to improve pre-school children‟s nutrition Rabuor Zone Kisumu County. Purposive sampling was used to select the target geographical area which has a total of forty four schools. Stratified sampling was used to select 30% of pre-schools and systematic sampling used to select the sample population of 341 pupils together with their parents. Data was collected by use of structured questionnaires, anthropometric data sheet and observation checklist. Statistical package for social sciences (version 20), Epi-info, Nutri-Survey were used to analyze data. Pearson‟s Product moment correlation and chi-square was used to test the hypotheses. Validity of the research instruments was assessed using content validity while reliability of the research instruments was conducted using test retest method. The study conducted a pilot study in 2 preschools which were not included in the actual study. The study rejected the hypothesis HO1 there is no significant difference between nutrition and academic performance of pre-school children since the results revealed that the p-value was 0.033, which is less than 0.05 (p=0.033<0.05).This implies that statistically there is a significant relationship between the two variables .HO2 was also rejected which stated that there is no significance difference between academic performance of schools with feeding programmes and those without since results revealed that the p-value was 0.013, which is less than 0.05 (p=0.013<0.05).This implies that statistically there is a significant difference between the two variables. The study recommended that stakeholders like National Centre For Early Childhood Education (NACECE) and District Centre For Early Childhood Education (DICECE)) should develop curriculum and a programme for equipping parents of preschool Children with knowledge on good nutrition and importance of balanced diet which is vital for good performance. MOE and the parents also need to support all the ECDE Centers in Rabuor to organize and sustain centralized feeding programmes and ensure that foods offered are balanced and healthy.MOE should also partner with other development bodies, NGOs and GOK ministries to identify severely malnourished children and put them on special programmes.