Factors affecting nutrition of students and effects of nutrition in educational attainment

Akademische Arbeit, 2015

17 Seiten


Table of Contents

I. Introduction

II. Geographical Context

III. Locational Context

IV. Theoretical Context

V. Methodology

VI. Analysis
1. Food Intake Analysis
2. Why Aren’t They Getting Enough Food?
3. Why Do They Have Big Families?

VII. Conclusion

VIII. Bibliography

I. Introduction

Many experts believe that sufficient nutrition is one of the keys to increasing one’s quality of life. Productivity of a worker on a farm increased at most by 4 percent when his calorie intake increased by 10 percent (Duflo, 27). The benefits of good nutrition might be particularly more important for two sets of people: unborn babies and young children. Children, who receive proper nutrients during their early childhoods, tend to earn more money in the future. Not only that, sufficient nutrition protects children from chronic disease and keeps them healthy. Having a healthy life helps people, particularly the poor, to be even more productive when working and learning.

Cilincing is one of Jakarta’s poorest and most densely populated areas. It has one of the highest concentrations of poverty in North Jakarta (Mortensen, Justin.). With this in mind, we wanted to try help the community attain better quality of life by taking the first step of breaking out of the poverty trap. The context of this essay is actually our desire to help people in Cilincing through a school-feeding program in order to increase school enrollment and educational attainment, which in the long run will give them a chance to break out of poverty.

With the idea of this school-feeding program, it led to a bigger unanswered question that this essay will investigate, which is what are the factors affecting nutrition of student in Sekolah Bambu, Cilincing and how is nutrition affecting educational attainment.

Investigating on whether nutrition is holding kids back from pursuing education is important because the finding can determine whether or not a school-feeding program plays a role in educational attainment, hence helping them live better lives. And if it is not nutrition that is holding them back, then the investigation could determine what could possibly be done to help people in Cilincing take the first step of breaking out of the poverty trap.

II. Geographical Context

Indonesia has been growing economically in the past decade. However, its growth has been socially and economically uneven. Even though the proportion of people living in poverty fell by half, from 24% in 1999 to 12% in 2012, the gap between the rich and the poor is getting wider (“Muted Music”). According to a forthcoming report by the World Bank, real consumption grew by about 4% a year on average in 2003-10. But for the poorest 40% of households it grew by only 1.3% (“Muted Music”).

The presence of this inequality in Indonesia has led to serious health issues, especially in poor households. For instance, the mortality rate for children under 5 is 40 per 1,000 live births—nearly 45% of these child deaths are attributable to various forms of under nutrition (Camila Chaparro). Child mortality rates often reflect poorer households rather than rich households, simply because lack of access to adequate healthcare and nutrition.

III. Location Context

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Diagram 1 – Sekolah Bambu, Cilincing (“Jakarta.") (Google Maps: Jakarta, Indonesia [Map data (c) 2015 Google])

As shown in diagram 1, Cilincing is the northeastern most sub-district of Jakarta located at the very far end of Jakarta ("Langgar Tinggi / Rumah si Pitung").

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Diagram 2 – Google earth ("Google Maps.") (Google Maps [Map data (c) 2015 Google])

As shown in diagram 2, Sekolah Bambu, which is the place where all data were gathered, is located in the middle of Cilincing. Through this Google earth image of the area, one could conclude that Cilincing is located near the ports and surrounded by industrial areas. Moreover, the residential areas are very dense, especially near the pinpointed location (Sekolah Bambu). This suggests that Cilincing is a relatively poor area with most of the space allocated for industry.

IV. Theoretical Context

Development is more than just economics. It is an expansion of human freedom, capability and opportunity. This could be measure through the Human Development Index (HDI), which measures health, education, and income. All 3 indicators are interrelated to one another and to an extent affect one another’s functionality. One way of measuring health is by measuring ones’ Body Mass Index (BMI), which is greatly affected by nutrition from food intake. Therefore, when one lacks nutrition and becomes unproductive, it will eventually affect their income, to an extent where one would not be able to work due to malnutrition. Low income families tend to have a hard time in putting their children to school, which leads to situation where the children would grow up working in low paying jobs and have insufficient nutrition due to lack of money. This then creates traps, which many of the poor have a trouble getting out of, called the poverty trap and the health trap.

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Diagram 3 – The poverty cycle which entraps individuals

As shown in diagram 3, the poverty trap is a never-ending circle with interdependent variables that hinders individual from acquiring better quality of life. Many experts agree that the education of children is one of the strongest keys to break the poverty trap. In many places, Cilincing included, primary education is provided freely by the government. Thus theoretically, economic disability should not prevent kids from attaining education. However, in actuality, parents would prefer their kids to work and help provide for the family.

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Diagram 4 – Health trap

Due to the fact that they have to help provide for the family at a young age and abandon education, the chances of them getting out of the poverty trap is even harder. Moreover, underprivileged families are unable to consume sufficient nutrients because they cannot afford it. Therefore, as shown in diagram 4, lack of nutrients leads to children having stunted growth. This creates a domino effect that will keep them poor, as they become unproductive, causing them to be stuck in a health-trap.

V. Methodology

This research is done by measuring BMI and interviewing families around the area of Sekolah Bambu, Cilincing. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected from primary resources.

The quantitative data is gained from measuring BMI of 100 random kids, both boys and girls, between the ages of 7 years old to 12 years old. The collected BMI data will be separated into 2 categories, boys aged 7-12 years old and girls aged 7-12 years old, in order to make comparison with standardized BMI index more accurate. This will then be used to identify whether the kids are underweight, normal, or obese. Their BMIs were measured using a technology so it could rule out some calculation errors that might happen. However, the quantitative data might have some slight error because the height and weight measurements were taken manually causing there to be a random error.

Qualitative data is also obtained through interviews with 10 random families, especially the mothers in the area. It is important that these families are randomly selected so that there will be a range of stories, therefore less bias. Interviews are generally better than surveys because they are more personal, as different families have different interesting stories to tell that might help with the investigation. One limitation that occurs is some people that were interviewed might not be totally honest and hide some truth from us for various reasons.

VI. Analysis

1. Food Intake Analysis

All 10 families interviewed have 3 daily diets that they have in common: rice, egg and tempeh. From the interviews, no mothers mentioned any vegetables in any of their diet because all they can afford is rice, egg, and tempeh and only the fortunate enough can afford fish. Earning low and unstable income causes most families in Cilincing to struggle in providing food let alone providing nutritious food for their children. For example, Nursaniah, a mother of 2 young girls, could only afford to feed her two daughters tea for breakfast and egg with rice for lunch (Nursaniah, Interview). They do not eat dinner at all, simply because they cannot afford it.

With most families only having egg and rice in their diet, there is no question that they suffer from nutrient deficiency. Even though they are getting some protein from eggs or tempeh and carbohydrates from rice, they are still not eating enough of them, knowing that most families only eat twice or even once a day. Both tempeh and meat serve as rich sources of complete protein, containing every essential amino acid (Walton, Alice G.). However, tempeh generally contains less protein per serving than meat.

Although some families try to cook and provide food for their children, most mothers decide to just give money to their kids and get their own food. With the freedom that comes with their daily allowance, children tend to buy unhealthy junk food. This daily lack of supervision in 1/3rd or sometimes-even ½ of the growing children’s daily intake results in stunting caused by insufficient nutrients in their systems.

By looking at their daily diets and amount of food intake, one could generally conclude that these kids in Cilincing are underweight or even malnourished. Some children are only eating once or twice per day, which could lead them to be malnourished. However, some are getting enough food intakes but the problem is more of the quality of nutrition inside their food intake. To be more definite, stunted growth and malnutrition could be further investigated by looking at BMI measurements.

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Diagram 5 – Universal BMI Index for children (“BMI Chart For Children.”)

This diagram above is an international measurement for BMI standards that shows, for both girls and guys, whether one is underweight, healthy weight, overweight, or obese. The minimum BMI needed, for children with different gender and different age, to be inside the healthy weight zone differs. For boys the minimum BMI required to be considered as healthy weight is 14 kg/m2 at the age of 7 and it goes up to 15 kg/m2 at the age of 12. For girls it is slightly lower, 13.6 kg/m2 at the age of 7 and it goes up to 14.6 kg/m2 at the age of 12.

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Diagram 6 – BMI Boys in Cilincing (primary resource)

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Diagram 7 – BMI Girls in Cilincing (Primary source)

As seen in diagram 6, 50% of the boys measured, as indicated by their respective BMIs, are below the accepted healthy BMI range. In diagram 7, it is shown that there are more girls that are categorized as underweight. This however is due to the fact that there is a greater sample size, as more girls attend the school than boys. It may be true that more girls have BMIs that indicates they are underweight but the percentage is smaller at 37%.

A low BMI, which a large number of the children in Cilincing happen to have, could be traced back to malnutrition. Having a low BMI simply means that the body is not getting enough of the nutrients and energy needed. In children between the ages of 6-12 years, 30 – 45% of their energy is utilized in the brain ("Nutrition and Brain Health | MyVMC."). One of the greatest effects of nutrition on brain functioning is on our cognition. However, lack of sufficient nutrition coming into their body prevents children in Cilincing to power their brain to its maximal capability. To add to that, children in Cilincing are also lacking healthy nutrients in their diet. As mentioned before a large number of children are given money to buy their own food. From the interview gathered, most children in the area will use this money to buy cheap junk food by the streets (Hengky, Interview). People with higher levels of trans fats, such as junk foods, in their blood had poorer performance in thinking, concentrating and in memory tests (Walton, Alice G.).

As shown in diagram 4 (health-trap diagram), stunting caused by insufficient nutrition leads to lack of productivity. Thus, one way to increase working and learning productivity is by getting sufficient nutrients for the body and brain to maximize its functions. Productivity of a worker on a farm increased at most by 4 percent when his calorie intake increased by 10 percent, making nutrition an important factor to increase both working as well as learning productivity (Duflo, 27).

Lack of nutrition to power the brain could also cause other effects that might restrain children from attaining education. From the interviews, some mothers admit that their children sometimes get sick and cannot go to school. Their sicknesses are usually very common and treatable, such as fever, cough, and the flu. However, no specific data of attendance can be gathered because the school does not keep track of them. Other than that, lack of sufficient nutrients in their diet could also lead to attention deficit and lack of focus in classrooms. Deficiencies of certain amino acids, B vitamins and magnesium—all found in vegetables—have been determined to cause significant brain impairment, including short-term memory loss, attention deficit, lack of focus and/or concentration, and mood swings (Helen.). According to Pak Hengky, one of the teachers in Sekolah Bambu, children that do not eat during their break times have a harder time in focusing in class (Hengky, Interview). Thus, theoretically lack of nutrition can be related to attention and focus deficit. However, in actuality this cannot be proven 100% as measuring concentration and focus is very hard, especially with the limited time and resources this research has.


Ende der Leseprobe aus 17 Seiten


Factors affecting nutrition of students and effects of nutrition in educational attainment
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Elizia Liauw (Autor:in), 2015, Factors affecting nutrition of students and effects of nutrition in educational attainment, München, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/306231


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