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Research Article

Impact of Birth Weight on the Nutritional Status and Academic Performance of School Age Children

U.M. Odenigbo, C.C. Nkwoala and O.C. Okpala
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This study compared the nutritional status and academic performance of Low Birth Weight (LBW) and Normal Birth Weight (NBW) school-aged population in Nigeria. A total of 119 subjects were involved in this study from a purposely selected one rural and one urban school in Abia state. Pre tested and validated questionnaires were used in data collection. Academic performance was obtained from their school records, while birth weights and ages were obtained from health/immunization cards. SPSS version 15.0 was used for data analysis. The subjects comprised of 57.1% males and 42.9% females, of 9-12 years old. Low prevalence (14.3%) of LBW was found. All three indicators used for nutritional status assessment (weight for age; height for age; BMI) showed more than 50% of study population as having normal nutritional status (96.64, 74.79 and 63.03% respectively). Stunting was 10.08%, overweight 2.52% and 6.72%, while obesity was 0.84%. This study revealed a significant (p<0.05) influence of birth weight on nutritional status with the use of BMI and weight for age indicators. The only child found underweight (<-2SD weight for age) had a LBW. The NBW group had higher percent of normal nutritional status than LBW group (Weight for age: 98.04% Vs 88.24%, BMI 65.69% Vs 47.06%). Stunted was found among 11.77% of the LBW and 9.80% of NBW groups (p>0.05). The subjects’ birth weight had no significant (p>0.05) influence on their academic performance. The findings of this study emphasize more attention to children born with LBW for improvement in their growth and academic performance.

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  How to cite this article:

U.M. Odenigbo, C.C. Nkwoala and O.C. Okpala, 2010. Impact of Birth Weight on the Nutritional Status and Academic Performance of School Age Children. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition, 9: 1157-1161.

DOI: 10.3923/pjn.2010.1157.1161


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