Nutritional Status, Elementary Pupils, District of Lambunao East, Philippines


Studies on health nutrition have been mainly on hunger, malnutrition, and micronutrient deficiency. The top approach to learning diet has pointed on the contribution of individual nutrients or foods. Individuals, however, do not consume single nutrients but mixture of foods. In consisting the different facets and nature of diet, studies of the interrelations of nutrition and health have looked into the impact of overall diet quality using summary measures of food and nutrient intake. Academic performance influences future educational attainment and income, which, in turn, affect health and quality of life. Moreover, as increased levels of educational attainment and income facilitate increased understanding of nutrition messages and access to healthy food. This relationship has been observed as steady.

Th young face a myriad of food-related concerns, such as poor nutrition, obesity, and hunger. In 2010, more than one-third of U.S. children and adolescents were overweight or obese [4], while nearly 20 percent of Minnesota’s 9th and 12th grade students were obese (Minnesota Department of Health, 2012). In addition to obesity, children also met food insecurity, or limited access to food due to an lack of money or resources. Ten percent of U.S. households with children faced food insecurity in 2012 [5]. In Minnesota, 10 percent of households are classified as food insecure, while it is estimated that 1 in 6 Minnesota children are at risk of hunger [16].

Williams [18] found that children who don’t eat breakfast are more likely to have a higher intake of sugar and fat in their diets and they are also more likely to be in need of essential vitamins and minerals in their diet, such as calcium, iron and zinc.

They [15] cited that eating breakfast may improve cognitive function reflected on memory, better marks and school attendance and kids who do not eat breakfast have reduced memory function, poorer attention spans and reduced performance in tasks requiring concentration when compared with those who consume an adequate breakfast. Therefore, consuming a healthy breakfast improves cognitive function and learning outcome.

However, the study was small but does appear to give a link between nutrition and long term development and behaviour.

Nutrition played a very vital part in the etiology, management, and recovery of several medical conditions and the determining nutritional status can lead to early detection of nutritional deficiencies that can lead to increased morbidity and mortality. However, early nutritional support can improve nutritional status, minimizing the chances for light problems becoming more serious. Finally, nutritional assessment should be a routine procedure for people of all ages and including young children demonstrates a preventive stance.

Nutrition also indirectly impacted school performance. Poor nutrition can leave students’ susceptible to deceases or lead to headaches and stomachaches, resulting in absences among students [3]. Access to nutrition that incorporates protein, carbohydrates, and glucose has been shown to improve students’ cognition, concentration, and energy levels [17].

Problems on discipline also have been shown to decrease in schools that offer a universal-free school breakfast program [13].

In the study of Public Health Law Center [14], during the 2009-10 school year, 47 low-income children took part in school breakfast programs for every 100 children who ate free or reduced lunch and during the 2011-12 school year, low-income children eligible for free and reduced meals missed 29 million school breakfasts, meaning that Minnesota schools missed more than $53 million in federal funds. In addition to lost federal funds, students who do not participate in school breakfast are at risk for increased absences, adverse behavior, reduced concentration, and poor academic performance.

In particular, a review by Rampersaud et al. [15] found that young people who reported eating breakfast on a consistent basis tended to have improved nutritional profiles compared to other children who were breakfast-skippers. Specifically, results suggested that consumption of morning meals, might improve cognitive function related to memory, test grades, and school attendance. The authors advocate for the regular consumption of a healthful breakfast on a daily basis, suggesting that breakfast consist of various foods, especially high-fiber and nutrient-rich whole grains, fruits, and dairy products [15].

In addition, breakfast programs were thought to reduce food insufficiency and increase nutritional status through minimizing breakfast skipping and providing adequate nutrition through a healthful breakfast.

In a recent study done by Al-Rethaiaa, Fahmy, and AlShwaiyat (2010), there was congruent evidence that eating snacks was a common habit among university students while fruits and vegetable were not frequently consumed.

Another study discovered that 5th grade students who ate more fast food fared worse on math and reading scores [9]. Similarly, a study that analyzed a healthy eating campaign that banned junk food from schools and introduced healthier, freshly prepared school meals found that participating students scored higher on English and science tests than students who did not take part in the campaign [2].

According to Hartline-Grafton, Henchy and Levin [6], the Department of Agriculture released new school meal guidelines intended to improve nutrition, reduce obesity, and improve access to lunch and breakfast programs. These new guidelines went into effect at the start of the 2012-13 school year and stipulate that nutrition services programs engaged in food-based menu planning. However, the guidelines call for increased servings of fruits, vegetables (including dark green, red/orange, beans/legumes, and starch), and whole grains. In addition, schools must offer a meat/meat alternative (e.g., tofu), reduce sodium, limit saturated fat, and introduce standards for caloric intake for various age ranges.

Al- Saeed et al. [1] showed that the upward in BMI among children and female adolescents aged 10-20 years is apparent in all age group and the prevalence of adolescents was very high. Morever, this present investigation assesses the dimensions of students’ academic performance course grades teachers give students and teachers’ judgement that students’ performance has fallen short enough of expectations that students should repeat a grade level. Measurers also include test based assessments teachers’ reports of previously tested reading and mathematics abilities and students current reading and mathematics abilities as revealed by direct assessment using standardized tests.

According to Hunger-Free Minnesota [8], schools provided nutritious thoughout the day, including breakfast, lunch, snacks, and after school and school breakfast programs seek to help meet students’ nutritional needs, the participation in breakfast programs plays a role in student behavior, cognition, and academic performance. However, low-income children are eligible for free breakfast programs, but cannot get to school early enough to participate or avoid the program because of the stigma associated with eating a free breakfast.

In contrast, nutritional deficiencies (particularly zinc, B vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and protein) early in life can affect the cognitive development of school-aged children [17].

Hence, motivation is said to be an important factor to promote students’ cognitive and behavioral engagement in science and their subsequent performance.

Indeed, the increased interest to the students’ motivation and its effects on their performance over last twenty years [7].

Presently, the National Achievement Test result in the country were not improving, as cited by the Secretary of Education. However, the Secretary of Education refers to the data on the NAT results from 2006 to 2010, which was below 75% proficiency level of the Philippines Learning Competence. The percentage scores of Elementary NAT results were 54.50% in 2006; 56.94% in 2007; 64.81 in 2008; 66.33% in 2009 and in the 2010 the rate 69.21% on the national level. Moreover, these low achievement level of Elementary NAT results can be counted to the percentage scores of science subject. In the year 2006 the rate was 46.77%, 2007-51.58%- lowest among the five subjects taken by the pupils.

Grade inflation can make comparison of grades across time suspect,variation in grading standards across schools and individual teachers can make it difficult to compare populations meaningfully, and grading standards differ significantly between special education and regular education classes. For example, special education teachers are less likely than general educators to consider homework or attendance to be important in grading student performance, but they are more likely to consider in-class participation to be important. Finally, the main purpose of the study was to find out the correction of the level of nutritional status of elementary pupils at the District of Lambunao East, Philippines.

Statement of the Problem

This study aimed to determine the nutritional status of elementary pupils at the District of Lambunao East, Philippines for the school year 2015-2016.

Specifically, this study sought to answer the following questions:

  • What is the level of nutritional status among pupils’ as to:

i. Severely Wasted;

ii. Wasted and

iii. Normal?

  • Is the extent of the nutritional status by the respondents significantly different when taken as a whole?

Materials and Methods

This study utilized the documentary analysis method of research. Documentary Analysis according to Bailey (1994), documentary methods is the analysis of documents that involves information about the phenomenon the researcher wish to study.

Payne and Payne (2004) described the documentary method as the techniques used to categorize, investigate, interpret and identify the limitations of physical sources, most commonly written documents whether in the private or public domain. This method was most appropriate in determine the nutritional status of elementary pupils at the District of Lambunao East, Philipines. The researcher also used the descriptive research design when they tried to find out the direction and extent of relationship between different variables and extent of differences between different variables (Fox, 1999).

The respondents of the study were the 1,040 elementary pupils at the at the District of Lambunao East, Philippines, Region VI – Western Visayas, for school year 2015-2016. Complete enumeration was use in selecting sample respondents.

Before the survey was conducted, permission was secured from the Iloilo School Division Superintendent, and school heads/principals to allow teachers to be involved in this research.

Upon approval, intermediate pupils included as respondents were select purposively. The school principals were requested of their utmost cooperation and assistance in the administration of the survey. They were briefed about the purpose of the study. On the other hand, the Nutritional Status Result for the school year 2015-2016 of elementary pupils were used in the present investigation. The data were then summarized and tabulated using the SPSS. The following statistical tools were used to analyze and interpret the data the mean; standard deviation and analysis of variance or (ANOVA). The significance level was set at .05. alpha.

Result and Discussion

The Extent of the Nutritional Status of Respondents

As a whole, the result showed that the extent of the nutritional status of respondents was “Moderate” (M=13.31) and when categorized as to Normal “High’ (M=14.89), Wasted “Moderate” (M=13.34) and Severely Wasted “Low” (M=11.71). The result showed that the respondents who belong to normal bracket has high aware of their nutritional status, those who belong to a wasted bracket has moderate awareness of their nutritional status and those who are severely wasted has low concern on their nutritional status.

In line with what Choi (1999) stated that Balanced nutritional intake is essential for human development and health life, thus it should be practiced with every meal. Meal contents and dietary habits play important roles in nutritional intake. Thus, the result showed that the respondents are observant regarding their nutritional status.

Table 1

The Extent of the Nutritional Status of Respondents

Nutritional Status Mean Description SD
Normal 14.89 High 1.249
Wasted 13.34 Moderate 0.326
Severely Wasted 11.71 Low 0.5669
General Mean 13.31 Moderate

Mean Description
10.63-12.08 Low
12.09-13.54 Moderate
13.55-15.00 High

The Significant Difference in the Nutritional Status of Pupils when they are grouped according to Gender

The ANNOVA results revealed that there is no significant difference that existed in the extent in nutritional status of pupils’ when grouped according to gender as to normal (p=.688); wasted (p=.461) and severely wasted (p=.749). Therefore, the null hypothesis that there is no significant difference in the extent in nutritional status when grouped according gender is accepted.

Therefore the null hypothesis that there is no significant difference that existed in the extent in nutritional status of pupils’ when grouped according to gender is accepted.

In contrast with the statement of Mucha that gender and nutrition are inextricable parts of the vicious cycle of poverty. Gender inequality can be a cause as well as an effect of hunger and malnutrition. Not surprisingly, higher levels of gender inequality are associated with higher levels of undernutrition, both acute and chronic undernutrition. Gender and nutrition are not stand-alone issues; agriculture, nutrition, health and gender are interlinked and can be mutually reinforcing. Some experts consider women to be the nexus of the agriculture, health and nutrition sectors . Gender and nutrition are increasingly acknowledged by the development community as important cross-cutting issues. Recently, the reciprocal relationship between the two issues was affirmed, giving rise to various efforts that seek to mainstream gender into nutrition policy and programming. Mucha (2012). “Enabling and equipping women to improve nutrition.” Briefing Paper no. 16, Bread for the World Institute, Washington D.C. 2 UNDP (2011). “Human Development Report 2011. Sustainability and Equity; A Better Future for All.” New York. 3 IFPRI (2011). “Agriculture, nutrition, health; exploiting the links.”

Table 2

ANOVA Result in the Significant Difference in the Nutritional Status of Pupils when they are grouped according to Gender

Nutritional Status Mean t-value Sig (2-tailed) Description Decision
Normal 14.89 0.097 0.688 Not Sig. Accept Ho
14.88 0.098
Wasted 13.34 -0.51 0.461 Not Sig. Accept Ho
13.35 -0.511
Severely Wasted 11.77 -0.159 0.749 Not Sig. Accept Ho
11.78 -0.159

Conclusion and Recommendation

Pupils are moderately concern of their nutritional status and Regardless of their age and nutritional brackets, most of the respondents have high nutritional status. It is recommended that the The nutritional supplement program in the schools should be continued without any stop. There is a need for school health program to monitor periodically children’s eating habit and personal hygiene and the same interventions may be applied on the nutritional status of the respondents regardless of status in life.