Mal J Nutr 20(1): 71 - 81, 2014

Prevalence of Underweight and Effect of Nutritional Status on Academic Performance of Primary School Children in Chapainawabganj District, Bangladesh
Md Golam H1, Md Saimul 11, Kazi Enamul H2, Md Ashraful 11, Mamun ASMA1, Kamruzzaman M1 & Saw A3

ABSTRACT

Introduction: The high prevalence of underweight among children is a serious health concern in Bangladesh. Nutritional status influences students' academic performance directly or indirectly. This study aimed to determine factors that affect the academic performance of students in primary schools. Methods: Data were collected from several schools and madrasahs in Chapainawabganj district, Bangladesh using multistage stratified sampling with proportional allocation technique. Results: The prevalence of underweight children was 32.3%, with 43.0% of them being girls and 21.4% boys. Multiple logistic regression analysis demonstrated that normal weight children were more likely (p<0.05) to obtain good results (GPA >3.50) than underweight children. Children with gestational age of 39 to 41 weeks were more likely to obtain good results than those whose gestational age was 37 and 38 weeks. Children who were breastfed for <24 months were less likely (p<0.01) to perform well academically (GPA>3.50) compared to their counterparts. Children whose parents had a higher income or higher education had a significantly better chance of obtaining good results compared to their counterparts. Conclusion: These results suggest that childhood nutritional status, parents' education and economic level are significant common factors which affect children's academic performance. Consequently, under-nutrition and poverty can be considered as the major problems for good academic performance of Bangladeshi children and requires attention.

Keywords: Logistic regression, Primary School Certificate (PSC) examination, stepwise regression, underweight

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