1.1 Background to the Study
Most students in our secondary schools today are finding it difficult to concentrate and do well in their studies and because of this, academic achievement becomes a problem. Many of the academic problems students face is fueled by poor nutrition and lack of proper eating habit. Academic performance is measured through continuous assessments and examinations. Academic performance can be seen as a problem when students are not able to reach the short-term or long-term goals in their education. When students do not perform well in school, it can be seen to be that the students did not study hard for the examination or test and also can be caused by poor concentration in school, poor memory, poor ability to follow through topics and also poor coordination in class.
Academic performance refers to a student’s success in meeting their short-term or long-term goals in education. It could be a success or failure. Poor academic performance according to Aremu (2003) is a performance that is adjudged by the examiner or tester and significant others as falling below expected standard. In secondary schools, we face poor academic performance which can be seen as either the fault of the students or the teacher or even the school. The main aim of going to school is to be able to achieve something academically like a university degree, WAEC certificate and so on. Therefore, if then a student is not able to achieve anything academically during the years in school, there is a problem. We have identified some of the problem to be the student’s lack of concentration, poor memory, poor ability to follow up, poor coordination, the student finding it hard to study, poor exercise, poor nutrition, poor eating habit and so on. The falling level of academic performance is attributable to teacher’s non-use of verbal reinforcement strategy (Morakinyo 2003). Lack of facilities has an adverse effect on the performance of students in the less endowed school (Dewees 1999). This shows that schools also affect a student’s academic performance. The researcher would mainly be focusing on the eating habit of students.
Eating habits can be seen as the way a person eats, considered in terms of what types of food are eaten, in what quantity and when (Collins English dictionary 2016). We therefore can say that poor eating habit can be seen as the ways people eat, the food they eat, and when they eat which affects their health negatively. Eating habits are determined by some factors such as: individual preference, cultural influence, social influence, religious influence, economic influence, environmental influence and even political influence (diet 2016). There are some poor eating habits experienced by students almost daily. They include: skipping breakfast, late night eating, drinking little water, eating large quantity of food and eating during activities. For skipping of breakfast, studies show that skipping breakfast detracts from scholastic achievement (Clarke University, 2006). Late night eating is when students eat late at night because they are hungry or had a really long stressful day. Students drink little or no water. Water is good for the body but students tend to drink little or no water but rather take a lot of soda or soft drink or any liquid with a lot of sugar. It is advised that students carry a water bottle along to class (Clarke University, 2006). Eating large quantity of food is the fact that students eat large quantities of food when they are hungry or because the food is really good and they do not like the next meal so they stuff themselves so that they can skip the next meal by saying they are not hungry. When it comes to eating during activities, students like to eat during classes, afternoon and night reading time, when they are doing their assignment in their free time and when they are reading. They also eat when they are emotional or stressed. Students that are well fed and have proper nourishment are ready to learn.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It makes us active for the workload ahead of us. Eating breakfast gives us the energy and makes us active. Therefore, when students skip their breakfast because they are running late for class simply means that the students would not be active the whole day in class. It would lead to sleeping in class and not participating at all. For late night eating, students tend to eat late at night before going to bed because they had a long stressful day with class, sports, and different activities. They become tired and hungry making them eat. This affects their sleeping. Eating too close to bedtime will give sleeping difficulty since your body will be busy digesting food. When students do not sleep well, the next day the students would be so tired to participate in class, instead, the students would want to sleep making the students unable to concentrate in class. This affects their academic performance. When it comes to drinking water, students prefer soda or any sugary drink to just drinking water and it has been seen that water has many positive effects on the body. Water in fact helps the body in so many ways like it boost the brain, it helps overcome fatigue especially in class, it flushes the kidney leading to less stomach ache also, water prevents pains in the muscles and joints (Schwecherl 2014). With all these that water performs, when students drink a lot of water and less of sugary liquid the students would not experience anything that would keep them out of class making him or her perform better academically. For eating large quantity of food, students eat large quantities of food to help them through the next activity or to prevent eating the next meal. This is a poor eating habit for students because too much food makes the student tired and unable to achieve what was meant to be achieved. When students are tired, the students are unable to participate in class and thereby achieving very little academically. Also, for eating during activities, students face a lot of activities a day and the only way to survive is to eat their way through those activities. They secretly eat during class, during their free time, during their reading time, even during sports time. Excess eating affects the concentration of the students in those activities.
Due to the above, this study is set out to look into eating habit as a determinant of academic achievement amongst secondary school students in Ikenne Local Government Area.
1.1 Statement of the Problem
Most students in our secondary schools today are unable to eat healthily due to the time of their classes. There is no time to prepare a nutritious meal so they end up taking any form of food they see be it snacks or fatty food to be able to keep them going through the day.
Due to this fact, they sometimes see the teacher as boring but unknown to them when they get tired or bored, it is likely that the food which they have eaten is making them tired, losing interest in the lesson and this adversely affects their academic achievement.
Hence, the study sets out to identify the extent to which their nutrition and eating habit will affect their academic achievement.
1.2 Objective of the Study
The objectives of this study are to examine eating habit affects academic performance amongst secondary school students in Ikenne Local Government Area. It specifically aims to:
1.3 Research Questions
1.4 Research Hypothesis
The research would be based on the following hypothesis:
1.5 Scope of the Study
This research work which is focused on the influence of eating habit on academic performance amongst secondary school students in Ikenne Local Government Area, Ogun state will cover SS2 and SS3 students in selected secondary schools in Ikenne Local Government Area, Ogun state
1.6 Significance of the Study
The focus of this study is centered on the influence of eating habit of secondary school students in Ikenne Local Government Area. The core objective is to examine how eating habit affects the academic performance of secondary school students in Ikenne Local Government Area. This study is important as it would highlight the relevance and role of eating habit on students in secondary schools.
Students will benefit from this study as it would serve as a means of enlightenment to them on the crucial relevance of their eating habit to their academic performance in their studies and also make them understand that what they eat affects them to as when they study.
Teachers will find this research helpful in order for them to understand that students’ academic performance are not only based the way they study, when they study and how many times they attend class but also on what they eat and the way they eat.
Parents will also find this research helpful in order for them to get the idea that though their children study hard, they may not be able to perform better because of the type of food they eat, when they eat and the way they eat. The study will also recommend proper eating habits for parents to adopt in order to provide their children with healthy eating habits.
Secondary schools will also benefit from this research because they would be able to provide the students with healthier meals both in the cafeteria and in the small shops that food is sold.
1.7 Operational Definition of Terms
In the course of this study, the following variables are operationally defined to serve as a guide in understanding them:
Eating Habit: this can be seen as the way a person eats, considered in terms of what types of food are eaten, in what quantity and when.
Academic Performance: is a student’s success in meeting up with his or her short- term or long- term goals in education. It is also what a student was attaining while in school both good or high and bad or low. It is measured by the final grade earned in the course. It is defined by the student’s reporting of past semester CGPA/GPA and the expected GPA of the current semester. The grade point average (GPA) is a better measurement because it provides a greater insight into the relative level of performance of individuals and different groups of students.
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