Impact of Poor Nutrition on the Academic Performance of Grade Seven learners: A Case of Zimbabwe

Kudzai Chinyoka

Abstract


This paper examined the impact of poor nutrition on the academic performance of grade seven learners at two primary schools in Chivi, Zimbabwe. Its main objective is to identify mitigation policies and measures designed to reduce negative effects of poor nutrition on children’s academic performance. Malnutrition remains one of the major obstacles to human well-being affecting all areas of a child's growth and development, including performance in the classroom. The study is grounded in Maslow’s motivational and needs theory. In this study, a qualitative phenomenological case study design was used with focus group discussions, interviews and observations as data collection instruments to twelve (12) grade seven learners, three (3) headmasters and four (4) teachers, purposively sampled in Masvingo province. Findings revealed that malnutrition affected physical growth, cognitive development and it consequently impacts on academic performance, health and survival of learners. Malnutrition also deepens poverty due to increased health care costs. The study also established that hungry and undernourished grade seven learners were not able to take on physical work and sporting activities seriously, are less able to attend school and if they do, are less able to concentrate and learn. On the way forward, there is need to introduce nutritional gardens at community, school and at family levels. Addressing the root causes of malnutrition (such as food insecurity, poverty, population growth and socio-economic instability) is imperative for achieving sustained reductions in malnutrition.

 


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijld.v4i3.6169

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