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The Effect of Nutrition on National Education & Health Growth


Nutrition has a dynamic and synergistic relationship with economic growth through the channel of education. Behrman cites three studies suggesting that, by facilitating cognitive achievement, child nutrition and schooling can significantly increase wages. In utero, infant and child nutrition affects later cognitive achievement and learning capacity during school years, ultimately increasing the quality of education gained as a child, adolescent and adult. Parental education affects in utero, infant and child nutrition directly through the quality of care given (Principally maternal) and indirectly through increased household income. Human capital development, primarily through education, has received merited attention as a key to economic development, but early childhood nutrition has yet to obtain the required emphasis as a necessary facilitator of education and human capital development.

A recent research shows that early childhood nutrition plays a key role in cognitive achievement, leaning capacity and ultimately, household welfare. For example, protein – energy malnutrition (PEM) deficiency, as manifested in stunting is linked to lower cognitive development and education achievement; low birth weight is linked to cognitive deficiencies; iodine deficiency in pregnant mothers negatively affects the mental development of their children can cause delayed maturation and diminished intellectual performance; iron deficiency can result in impaired concurrent and future learning capacity. This goes a long way to prove that nutrition have a great impact to national education as Nigeria is fully experiencing this ugly impact now and in time to come.


A health nation is a wealthy nation. Nutrition has a great impact on every nationâ??s growth especially as we can see in Nigeria situation. Inadequate consumption of protein and energy as well as deficiencies in key micronutrient such as iodine, vitamin A and iron are also key factors in the morbidity and mortality of children and adults. Mal-nourished children also have lifetime disabilities and weakened immune systems.Moreover, malnutrition is associated with disease and poor health, which places a further burden on household as well as health care systems. Disease affects a personâ??s development from a very early age. Gastro-enteritis, respiratory infections and malaria are the most prevalent and serious conditions that can affect development in the first three years of life. In factions affect childrenâ??s development by reducing their dietary intake; causing a loss of nutrients; or increasing nutrient demand as a result of fever.

Malnutrition also plays a significant role in morbidity among adults. The link between morbidity from chronic disease and mortality, on the one side, and a high body mass index (BMI), on the other has been recognized and analyzed in developed countries primarily for the purpose of determining life insurance risk. A study on Nigerian men and women has shown mortality rates, among chronically energy â?? deficient people who are mildly, moderately and severely underweight to be 40, 140 and 150 percent greater than rates among non-chronically energy â?? deficient people.

A lack of micronutrients also contributes significantly to the burden of disease. Iron deficiency is associated with malaria, intestinal parasitic infections and chronic infections. Chronic iodine deficiency causes goiter in adults and Children and also affects mental health. Vitamin A deficiency significantly increases the risk of severe illness and death from common childhood infections, particularly diarrhoeal diseases and measles. In areas where vitamin A deficiency exists, children are on average 50 percent more likely to suffer from acute measles. A UN report states that improvement in vitamin A status have been reduction in mortality among children aged one to five.