A longitudinal study on the effect of overweight, obesity, stunting and wasting on academic performance of primary school boys: the NW-CHILD study
Childhood overweight, obesity, stunting and wasting have a definite effect on academic performance. Literature has indicated that these four conditions have a major impact on academic performance, especially among Mathematics, Language, reading and writing. Furthermore, South Africa has contributing challenges such as socio-economic status (SES) that negatively influence children's academic performance. The purpose of this dissertation was twofold. Firstly, to determine the effect of overweight and obesity on academic performance over a period of seven years (2010-2016) among primary school boys in the North West Province of South Africa, taking into account SES. Secondly, the same effect was focused on among stunted and wasted primary school boys over the same period. STATISTICA StatSoft (2017) was used to analyse the data. Descriptive data were analysed and means and standard deviations were calculated first. Further, Repeated Measures ANOVA' were used for over time data to determine the difference between the different SES groups and the boys' body composition as well as their academic performance (2010-2016). Two-way tables were used to determine any relationships and changes that may have occurred over time with regard to overweight, obesity, stunting, wasting and SES to compare the classifications of the different quintiles (Quintile 1-3 = schools classified as low SES and Quintile 4 to 5 = schools classified as high SES). Additionally, Pearson Chi-square was used to indicate any significance of these associations (Body Mass Index (BMI), stunting, wasting and academic performance) as well as the level of statistical significance, set at p≤0.05. Lastly, Spearman rank order correlations were used to determine the relationship between BMI and academic performance. The strength of the correlation was set at r≈0.1 indicating a small effect, r≈0.3 indicating a medium effect and r≈0.5 a large effect. The results indicate that the BMI, stunting and wasting increased from 2010-2016. Most of the subjects reported a small to large effect related to the association between BMI and academic performance (r≥0.1 and r≥0.3), except for Afrikaans in 2013 (r=0.06). Only two subjects (English and Language as tested with the Annual National Assessment (ANA) test) reported medium effects (r≥0.3), whereas the other subjects only reported small effects (r≥0.1). Additionally, no statistical significance (p≥0.05) was observed among the BMI values and academic subjects, however, SES and school subjects reported several statistical significant relationships, especially among Languages (English and First Additional Language) and Mathematics. Lastly, academic performance, including Language, Mathematics and average academic scores showed relationships of statistical significance among stunting and wasting (p?0.05). Over a period of seven years (overall), it was seen that stunting and wasting had an effect on academic performance, especially regarding Language and Mathematic subjects. These results contribute to a better understanding of the effect of overweight, obesity, stunting and wasting on academic performance. The findings are helpful to the Department of Basic Education, schools, teachers, Kinderkinetici and other health-care professions regarding meaningful statistics about overweight, obesity, stunting and wasting, intervention and physical activity or nutritional programmes among children in South Africa. Recommended is more longitudinal studies in South Africa with regard to overweight, obesity, stunting, wasting and academic performance as well as studies in the other eight provinces for intervention programmes to be developed from these findings to help the affected learners.
- Health Sciences