THE ROLE OF NUTRITION IN THE WELL-BEING OF UNDERGRADUATES IN NIGERIA
project investigated the role of nutrition in the well-being of undergraduates
using the University
of Benin undergraduates
as a case study. A descriptive survey research design was used to obtain data.
The instrument used was the questionnaire. Fifty questionnaires were
administered and all were retrieved.
The study aimed at investigating:
nutrition plays in the well-being of undergraduates.
problems that are most common among undergraduates.
The factors that
affect the nutritional level of undergraduates.
of an undergraduate’s diet.
provided for undergraduates to eat healthy for optimal well-being.
and interpretation of data revealed that lack of nutritional knowledge among
undergraduates has led to some nutritional problems which are prevalent among
them; they are swollen gums, weak eyesight and indigestion. These nutritional
problems have adverse effects on their performance at school, bodily functions,
emotional health and self esteem. Some factors like income/monthly allowance,
religion, culture, one’s dwelling place and one’s level of nutritional
knowledge were identified to have contributed to inadequate nutrition.
researcher therefore recommends that nutrition be taught in schools from
nursery through tertiary institutions, that seminars be organized by tertiary
institutions on the importance of good nutrition and parents and guardians
should work hard to provide sufficient funds for their children and wards to
OF THE STUDY
nutrition is necessary for good health and concern with food is important if
certain illnesses are to be prevented. Good nutrition is closely associated
with good health – how you look and feel, how well you perform mentally and
physically at work or at home.
body is made up of many materials. These can be supplied by a wide variety of
foods to ensure good health. The body is, broadly speaking, the product of its
nutrition. You are what you eat. Therefore, it is important that daily
decision-making on this important aspect of health be properly guided and should
not be based on wrong influences.
person’s diet is made up of the food they eat. Nutrition is the way that food
people eat nourishes their bodies. Good nutrition means your body is getting
all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals it needs to work at its best level.
Eating a healthy diet is your main way to get good nutrition. These diets
should maintain growth, encourage health and be satisfying, as nutrition for
undergraduates is important to the way their bodies are shaped for the rest of
is what you eat and how your body uses it. It is your total daily food intake
transformed into physical appearance, energy, growth and countless other body
functions. Happily, your nutrition is in your hands. Your decisions really
count when it comes to the food you eat. Whether you buy and prepare food to be
eaten at home or you eat out, you are faced with important food choices.
The basic function of food is to
keep us alive and healthy to grow and to reproduce. Food contains nutrients –
components that contribute to, and in some cases uniquely provide for,
biochemical and physiological functions in the body. Foods may also include
non-absorbed components which may influence bowel health and function e.g. some
phenolic compounds such as tannins and classes of non-starch polysaccharides
(e.g. cellulose). Food may also include contaminants from unusual soil types or
from industrial pollution. Heavy metals, radioactive isotopes, and microbial
contamination all have potential negative health effects. Foods contain a
variety of compounds which can be absorbed and which have important biological
effects e.g. caffeine.
Different age groups have different
nutritional needs and people’s diets should meet these specific needs. For
example, the nutritional needs and diet of a pregnant woman are different from
those of an elderly man. Likewise, an infant needs a different diet and
nutrition than a teenager. Each of us has different nutritional needs, and
these needs are constantly changing. Children’s needs are dictated, in part, by
their growth patterns. Adult needs change with age. One set of rules simply
cannot apply to everyone. In addition, factors such as a person’s height and
current weight, current health status, and activity level also affect what kind
of nutrients they need and how much they need.
Optimal nutrition is critical for
the development, growth and overall health of undergraduates. It helps ensure
optimal cognitive and physical development, prevent sickness and illness and
promote overall well-being (Nicklas and Johnson,2004). Despite the benefits of
healthy eating, only 30% of youths meet the dietary recommendations for fruits,
grains, meat and dairy and 36% for vegetables (Munoz, Kerbs-Smith, Ballard
& Cleveland, 1997), based on the Food Guide Pyramid. Further, 16% of youths
did not meet any recommendations, and a merger 1% met all recommendations (Munoz
et el, 1997).
School-based programs can play an
important role in promoting healthy lifestyles and diets among students ---
through “direct” and “indirect” avenues. These include formal health and
nutrition curriculums and school lunch programs and other provisions of foods,
respectively (Passmore, 1996). Several studies have shown that youths are
interested in learning about nutrition and generally believe nutrition is
important to good health (Murphy, Youatt, Hoerr, Sawyer & Andrews, 1994).
The general topic to be discussed in
this research plan is nutrition, undergraduates’ eating habits and what imparts
it has on them. The diet an undergraduate has can either have a positive or
negative impart on his well-being. This research will look into the roles nutrition
play in the all round well-being and performance of undergraduates using the University of Benin undergraduates as a case study.
nutrition requires a balance of food, vitamins and minerals (from eating a
healthy diet) and physical activity. Overweight and obesity can result if
things get out of balance ---such as eating too much food, not getting enough
physical activity or having too much of one or more nutrients in the diet.
Health risks associated with being overweight or obese include type 2 diabetes,
high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma and arthritis, among other risks.
Good nutrition is a critical step in helping control your weight and preventing
the risks that come from being overweight or obese.
The health of undergraduates has
been slowly deteriorating over the years and this is not a new phenomenon that
educators and parents have to address. The challenges associated with making
undergraduates healthier are enormous and have posed problems for political and
school officials as well as educators in the front lines of this struggle.
Peterson (2008) states that lack of physical activity, diet, parental
involvement are all factors that are affecting the health of students today.
Educators can have a direct impact on many of these areas and it is important
to have a well-developed understanding of the contributing factors so
appropriate decisions about interventions can be made, especially if they
affect parental involvement. It is important to note that contributing factors
to the health of undergraduates is not limited to in-school only. They move
beyond in-school to before and after school as well.
The health of undergraduates has
declined over the years. Research has shown very little improvement over the
past couple of years.
Based on the statement of problem,
the researcher seeks to answer the following questions:
What roles does
nutrition play in the general well-being of undergraduates?
problems are most common among undergraduates?
affect the nutritional level of undergraduates?
constitute the diets of undergraduates?
does the literature provide for undergraduates to eat healthy for optimal
OF THE STUDY
The objectives of this study are:
To find out the
various roles nutrition has to play in the general well-being of
To discover what
factors will either favour or/and adversely affect the nutritional status of
To find out the
problems associated with improper nutrition.
To determine how
much knowledge undergraduates possess about nutrition and how it affects their
the roles undergraduates have to play in their general well-being in terms of food
OF THE STUDY
The essence of this study is to make
available useful information on proper nutrition to parents, educators, school
officials and students themselves. Educators can become more aware of the
nutritional problems surrounding the health of their students and implement
better practices during school sessions. Parents can take this information, and
implement and provide healthier food options at home during and after the
school year ends. School officials can implement programs and adopt school-wide
programs that will benefit the overall health of their students. Students can
learn food habits that will contribute to their wellness and development.
This study was designed to reach as
many undergraduates as possible. However, due to financial constraints, limited
time and accessibility, it was restricted to undergraduates in the University of Benin,
Benin-City, Edo State, Nigeria.
Major limiting factors of this
research project include:
Inability of the
researcher to lay her hands on printed literature resources as either books on
this topic are unavailable in the library or they are outdated i.e. they are
not recent publications.
in various electronic search engines were used if they were available on-line.
All online resources are not as durable as literature resources available from
made the researcher settle for the use of a small sample size; it led the
researcher to a restricted geographical coverage of undergraduates in the University of Benin only.
funds led to a production of a limited number of questionnaires. The epileptic
nature of electric power supply was also a challenge.
The intake of food considered in relation to your body’s dietary needs.
A university student who has not yet taken a first degree.
A good, healthy or comfortable state.
The behaviour acquired by people towards food. This includes frequency and
pattern of eating.
Food substances providing nourishments.
FOOD GUIDE PYRAMID: A guide for achieving the nutrients needed for
optimal growth and healthy weights.