Physical Growth Characteristics And Cognitive Performance Of Preschool Children In Owerri Municipality, Nigeria

  • CO Asinobi
Keywords: Physical growth characteristics, cognitive performance, pre-school children


This study assesses the effect of the physical growth characteristics on cognitive performance of preschool school children in Owerri Municipality aged 2-5 years. A cross-sectional study was conducted on sample of 369 preschool children from 3 Nursery/kindergarten schools. All the subjects were measured for weight and height and educational achievement test conducted. The National Centre for Health Statistics (NCHS) reference population was used to estimate prevalence of underweight, stunted and wasted, respectively. The educational achievement tests were measured through reading of numbers and letters (alphabets) and each correctly pronounced number or letter was scored and percentage scores obtained. There were significant differences in all the anthropomeric indices z-scores values between sexes and age classes (p<0.05). The prevalence rates of underweight, stunting and wasting were 4.1%, 2.9% and 3.7%, respectively. More preschool children that were underweight, stunted and wasted had less than 60% score than greater than 60% scores. The associations between nutritional status levels (stunting, wasting and underweight) and mental performance test of the preschool children were significant, mainly at p<0.10 for underweight, and wasting and p<0.01 for stunting. Physical characteristics of the preschool children can have adverse effect on their cognitive performance. For preschool children to realize their full mental and physical potential and to perform optimally at school, both adequate nutrition especially in the first few years of life need to be addressed.

Keywords: Physical growth characteristics, cognitive performance, pre-school children

Journal of Technology and Education in Nigeria Vol. 11 (1) 2006: pp. 1-6

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eISSN: 1118-5570