This study investigated the effects of nutrition on the health of the physically impaired children of school of special needs of Oru East Local Government, Imo State. Two hundred (200) students were randomly selected from five (5) classes from the school of special needs in Imo State. A structure questionnaire designed by the investigator was used to collect data for the study. Percentage and chi-square (x2) were used to analysed the data. The result showed that nutrition has effect on the physical performance of the physically impaired children. Nutrition has effects on the health of the physically impaired children. The family status has influence on the nutritional intake of the physically impaired children. The result further shows that nutrition has effects on the mental ability of physically impaired children. Some recommendations were suggested by the research at the completion of the study.
- BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
There is, however, increasing national interest in the links between malnutrition and disability. There are a variety of possible reasons for poor nutrition in disabled children. Adequate nutrition is a fundamental prerequisite for good physical health, motor and cognitive development and social development (Meeks Gardner J et al, 1990; Waterlow JC, 1994). Malnourished children can become adults with lower physical and intellectual abilities, lower levels of productivity and higher levels of chronic illness and disability (UNICEF, 1998). Disabled people are often assumed to have poorer nutrition than their non-disabled counterparts and, indeed, surveys in developed countries have shown that disabled children and adolescents are vulnerable to poor nutritional care (Bax, 1993; Thomas et al, 1989). In contrast, far less information is available on the nutritional status of disabled children in developing countries where the situation is further complicated by widespread malnutrition among the general population. Previous studies in Nigeria (Alakija, 1988; Ojofeitimi, 1983) identified mild malnutrition in school-age children with sensory or mental impairments. Many studies of children with cerebral palsy have reported evidence of growth impairment (Hals et al, 1996; Shapiro et al, 1986; Stallings et al, 1996) or micronutrient deficiencies (Hals et al, 1996; Rampage et al, 1996). Growth retardation and feeding problems have also been noted in groups with other disabilities, including mental retardation, congenital heart disease and deaf ± blindness (Thommessen et al, 1991; Suzuki et al, 1991). Adolescents with mental retardation may also be overweight as a result of a sedentary lifestyle and over eating (Suzuki et al, 1991). There is a close relationship between poverty and disability (Coleridge, 1993). Children with disabilities living in poverty may be put at further risk of inadequate nutrition due to financial constraints or social beliefs. Economic conditions may influence the parent’s responses to their child’s condition (Mallory et al, 1993). However, disabled children in such situations are not always neglected; for example, in Tanzania disabled people were as far as possible integrated into the normal routine of the community (O’Toole and McKonkey, 1995). Estimates of the prevalence and severity of nutritional deficits among disabled children are complicated by the fact that physical disabilities will interfere with standard anthropometric measurements. For example, conditions such as kyphosis or bent legs can compromise the accuracy of standard height or length measurements and the extra arm exercise involved in using walking aids in some polio survivors can affect mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) results. Although international guidelines suggest disregarding anthropometric results from disabled children (United Nations, 1986), these children have the same right to good nutrition as non-disabled children so it is important to solve these measurement problems. We compared the nutritional status of disabled children with their non-disabled counterparts in Nigeria to determine if the disabled children were nutritionally disadvantaged and see if a disabled child disadvantaged the nutritional status of the siblings. We also evaluated the use of demi-span and half-span as proxy indicators of height in disabled children.
- STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
There is an increasing global interest in the links between the malnutrition and the physically challenged children in Nigeria. Because they both share many common features, there is hope that closer links and stronger working relationships between the two fields could lead to important synergies and mutual benefits: both fields address global problems affecting large numbers of often vulnerable individuals, including children and adults: some one billion people worldwide are malnourished, and around one billion live with a disability; both are related to key human rights: the right to food, a key determinant of nutritional status, is articulated in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 25); the General Comment on the Right to Food specifically mentions the rights of people with disabilities to have physical access to adequate food; the right of all children to adequate nutrition is laid out in the Convention on the Rights of the Child which has been ratified by all but two countries.
Since health care for individuals with physical challenges requires specialized knowledge acquired by additional training, as well as increased awareness and attention, adaptation, and accommodative measures beyond what are considered routine.
This researcher intend to evaluate the health status of physically challenged children in school of special needs in Nigeria.
- OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The main objective of this study is to examine the effect of nutrition on the health status of physically challenged children in school of special needs in Nigeria, the researcher intend to outline the following sub-objectives in the course of the study;
- To evaluate the health status of physically challenged children in school of special needs in Imo state.
- To ascertain if there is a close link between malnutrition and the health status of physically challenged children in school of special needs in Imo state.
- To enumerate factors associated with deterioration in physically challenged children’s nutritional status.
- To proffer possible solutions to the problems and challenges associated with malnutrition among physically challenged children in school of special needs.
- RESEARCH QUESTION
- Is there is any close link between malnutrition and the health status of physically challenged children in school of special needs in Imo state?
- What are the factors associated with deterioration in physically challenged children’s nutritional status?
- What is the health profile of physically challenged children in school of special needs in Imo state?
- Is there is any significant relationship between malnutrition and the health status of physically challenged children in school of special needs in Imo state?
- RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: there is no significant relationship between malnutrition and the health status of physically challenged children in school of special needs in Imo state?
H1: there is no significant relationship between malnutrition and the health status of physically challenged children in school of special needs in Imo state?
H0: poverty is not associated with malnutrition among physically challenged children in school of special needs in Imo state.
H2: poverty is not associated with malnutrition among physically challenged children in school of special needs in Imo state.
- SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
It is unbelievable to discover that many parents in this era still lack the fundamental idea or basic knowledge of malnutrition effect on the health of their children. It is believed that at the end of this study the findings will be of utmost benefits to every parent on the need to checkmate the nutritional level in their daily diets. To health care practitioners for a need to intensify their awareness campaign against malnutrition, to all expectant mothers, nursing mothers and the general public. To teachers in taking up the challenge to further educate these impaired children and stress the importance of balance diet to both parents and children who are ignorance those variable that have effects on physically impaired children health
To the government in making provisions on the concept of good health on the physically impaired children in school of special needs. Finally, the findings of this study will serve as a reverence material to scholars who intend to embark on a research of this nature.
- SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study no doubt is a broad but for the in-depth of the research finding, it was centered only on Oru East Local Government, Imo State. In the cause of the study, the researcher encounters some limitations which limited the scope of the study;
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
Inadequate Materials: Scarcity of material is also another hindrance. The researcher finds it difficult to long hands in several required material which could contribute immensely to the success of this research work.
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Nutrition: Nutrition is the science that interprets the interaction of nutrients and other substances in food in relation to maintenance, growth, reproduction, health and disease of an organism. It includes food intake, absorption, assimilation, biosynthesis, catabolism and excretion.
Malnutrition: Malnutrition is a condition that results from eating a diet in which nutrients are either not enough or are too much such that the diet causes health problems. It may involve calories, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins or minerals.
Health: Health is the level of functional and metabolic efficiency of a living organism. In humans it is the ability of individuals or communities to adapt and self-manage when facing physical, mental, psychological and social changes with environment.
Status: Status (Latin plural: statūs), is a state, condition, or situation.
Physically challenged: physical disability is a limitation on a person’s physical functioning, mobility, dexterity or stamina. Other physical disabilities include impairments which limit other facets of daily living, such as respiratory disorders, blindness, epilepsy and sleep disorders.
Children: Biologically, a child (plural: children) is a human being between the stages of birth and puberty. The legal definition of child generally refers to a minor, otherwise known as a person younger than the age of majority.
1.9 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY
This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), statement of problem, objectives of the study, research question, significance or the study, research methodology, definition of terms and historical background of the study. Chapter two highlight the theoretical framework on which the study its based, thus the review of related literature. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion and also recommendations made of the study.
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