Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Nutritional status and cognitive development of primary schoolchildren in Malawi : impact of a national school feeding programme
Author: Nkhoma, Owen Welosi White
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2013
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
There is limited and inconclusive literature on the effects of school feeding programmes (SFPs) on nutritional and cognitive status outcomes in developing countries. The overall aim of the study presented in this Thesis has been to generate data for evidence-based policy direction and guidance on the effects of the Malawi government and WFP supported SFP on the nutritional and cognitive status of rural primary school children in Malawi. The specific objectives of the study were: to determine whether the nutritional and cognitive status of children commencing attendance at two schools - one participating and the other not participating in a SFP - were different; to ascertain whether the SFP was making any positive contributions to the cognitive and nutritional status of school children. A critical literature review of studies which have been carried out in sub-Saharan Africa and which were aimed at presenting/exploring the effects of school meals on school children was also completed. Literature search was carried out using MEDLINE and ISI Web of Knowledge databases, and through direct consultation of appropriate on-line scientific journals and reference-citations used in the identified articles. Despite the varying evidence in literature, the review showed that SFPs may have the potential to improve a number of anthropometric, cognitive and scholarly outcomes in nutritionally-disadvantaged schoolchildren. To achieve the project aim, a cohort of entry level (Standard 1) primary school children (n=226) was recruited from two rural Malawian public primary schools (SFP school and non SFP school). Anthropometric measurements and cognitive status testing were carried out at two time points i.e. at the start and at the end of the 2010-2011 school year. At the start of the school year, high prevalence of under nutrition was prevalent in children from both schools and there were no major significant differences in most anthropometric and all cognitive outcomes between the two schools. At the end of the school year, the SFP sub-cohort had made significantly greater progress (relative to the non-SFP cohort) in one cognitive outcome (intra-extra dimensional pre-extra dimensional shift errors) and also showed a significant increase in one anthropometric outcome (mid-upper-arm circumference). It is hoped that the findings of this research study will prove to be a source of valuable information to local and international organisations which are implementing and planning to implement SFPs in Malawi. In particular, it is hoped that the Government of Malawi, through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the Department of Nutrition, HIV and AIDS, will regard these findings as useful for initiating debate about the effects of SFPs and shaping policy on the same. The high prevalence of stunting and underweight illustrates the magnitude of the general public health problem in school children and hence making this age group worthy considering for purposively designed all inclusive interventions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available