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The study investigated the causes and effects of malnutrition in children in Ovia North East Local Government Area, using mothers and health workers as population target. The sampling method was utilized in picking out the respondents. The questionnaire method was used. Questions such as:

1.                 Is there knowledge of awareness of proper nutritional practices among mothers?

2.                 Is lack of nutrition education responsible for poor feeding

3.                 Is starvation a cause of malnutrition?

Investigation revealed that malnutrition exist amongst children in Ovia North East Local Government Area and it occurs as a result of ignorance. In conclusion, suggestions were made base on the findings. Malnutrition has got its root cause from ignorance and poverty. Poverty alleviation is an area the government should show more interest in. Finally, no doubt that these project will help increase mother’s awareness about the causes and effect of malnutrition in Ovia North East Local Government in Edo State.


CHAPTER ONE                                                                            


Background of the study

Statement of the problem

Purpose of the study

Research questions

Significance of the study

Definition of terms

CHAPTER TWO                                                                           

Review of related literature

CHAPTER THREE                                                              

Definition of population

Sampling procedure

Data collection

Research methodology

Administration of questionnaires

Validity of instrument

Analysis of data

CHAPTER FOUR                                                       

Data analysis and interpretation

CHAPTER FIVE                                               

Discussion of findings



Recommendations for further study






Malnutrition is a term peculiar to under develop and developing countries.

Malnutrition has been defined in different ways for example, Marian Hill (1989) regards malnutrition as the absence of certain essential food elements in ones diet.

Billies nurses dictionary (18th edition) defines malnutrition as the condition in which nutrition is defective in quantity.

Malnutrition is the condition that occurs when a persons’ body is not getting enough nutrients. The condition may result from an inadequate or imbalanced diet, digestive difficulties, absorption problems or other medical conditions.

Malnutrition is a general term for a medical condition caused by an improper or insufficient diet, it often refers to under nutrition resulting from inadequate consumption or excessive loss of nutrients but the term can also encompass over nutrition from overeating or excessive intake of specific nutrients. An individual will experience malnutrition if the appropriate amount of or quality of nutrients comprising a healthy diet is not consumed for an extended period of time.

Malnutrition is a situation whereby people feed but not in the appropriate portion. A state when there is deficiency or excess of any one of the essential classes of food, such as carbohydrates, fat, protein etc. A body system needs the six classes of food in the correct proportion in order provide growth good health and energy to regulate the body system in good shape and to prevent diseases. The absent of this will adversely affect individual. An extended period of malnutrition can result in starvation disease and infection. According to Jean Ziegler (2007) sees malnutrition to be as a result of several conditions. First, sufficient and proper food may not be available because of inadequate agricultural produce. Malnutrition is the condition that develops when the body does not get the right amount of the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients it needs to maintain healthy tissues and organ function. Malnutrition may be mild enough to show no symptoms. However, in some cases it may be so severe that the damage done is irreversible even though the individual survives.

Worldwide, malnutrition continues to be a significant problem, especially among children who cannot fend adequately for themselves. Poverty, natural disasters, political problems and war, all contribute to conditions of epidemics of malnutrition and starvation. This is not just in developing countries alones symptoms vary with the specific malnutrition related disorder. However, some general symptoms include fatigue, dizziness, weight loss and decreased immune response.

Most commonly, malnourished people either do not have enough calories in their diet, or are   eating a diet that lacks proteins, vitamins or trace of minerals. Medical problems arising from malnutrition are commonly referred to as deficiency diseases such as kwashiokor, marasmus, anemia etc.

Nkeiruka Nwabah (2001) refer malnutrition as a state of impaired functional ability or deficient structural integrity or development brought about by a discrepancy between the supply to the body tissues of essential nutrients and the specific biological demand for them. The causes of malnutrition are as manifold as its clinically and sub-clinical manifestations. Primary malnutrition is the result of insufficient intake of essential nutrients because of lack of food either because of crop failure, war or poverty, economic depression and a host of other factors, many of which are concerned with the external environment.

There is another aspects of malnutrition problems of “over nutrition” and excess food intake which a large proportion of the population and have led to obesity as well as to other disease commonly associated with civilization.


In realization of the fact that malnutrition has been a problems among children in our society with its contribution to the high rate of retarded growth which affects the children from growing properly. The problems facing malnutrition or the causes that lead to malnutrition are;

  1. Loss of appetite: This is whereby a child refuses to eat maybe because the baby is sick or the child does not like that particular food.
  2. Poverty: This is one of the causes of malnutrition in our society today; this is whereby money is not available to purchase the necessary food we need. According to Michael Wines ten percent of all members of low-income households do not always have enough healthful food to eat, protein-energy malnutrition occurs in 50% of surgical patients and in 48% in all other hospitals patients.
  3. Lack of single vitamin: Lack of a single vitamin, malnutrition can occur or it can be because a person is not getting enough food.
  4. Insufficient food supply: This is whereby people are not getting enough food, this is whereby enough food is not supply into the country.
  5. Food taboos: Food taboos are food, which are forbidden by people for one reason or the other. E.g. religious or cultural believes they have no scientific foundations and have been handed over from generation to generation. These thus deprive the individual from eating a balance diet.


The purpose of carrying this research is to examine the causes and effects of malnutrition on children. The work aims at dealing with the following objectives;

To know the causes and effects of malnutrition

To know what malnutrition is all about

To know the problems facing malnutrition and their prevention

To enlighten the people with the consequences of malnutrition


Based on this study, the following research questions are formulated for testing;

  1. Is there knowledge of proper nutritional practices among mothers?
  2. Do the level of financial status determine the nutritional practice for the child?
  3. Is lack of nutrition education responsible for poor feeding?
  4. Is starvation a cause of malnutrition?
  5. Do mothers have the knowledge of causes and symptoms of nutritional diseases and how it can be treated?


  1. There is no significant relationship between awareness and nutritional practices among mothers
  2. There is significant relationship between the financial status and nutritional practices for the child.
  • There is significant relationship between nutrition education and poor feeding
  1. There is significant relationship between starvation, and malnutrition.
  2. There is no significant relationship between mother’s knowledge of causes and symptoms of nutritional diseases.


This research helps the children/parents to know what malnutrition and their symptoms is all about, how they can prevent malnutrition and cater for those who are malnourished.

This study will help to enlighten the parents/guardian the functions of good nutritional diet and the consequences of ignoring good diet.

This research will also help to know the causes and problems facing malnutrition in our society and how we can tackle it.


This study is strictly limited to children in Ovia North East Local Governemnt Area of Edo State.


It would be necessary at this point to make clear the meaning of some words used in this study.

Peculiar: Strange, eccentric, belonging exclusively to one person or place or thing special.

Absorption: Take in, combine into itself or oneself, combine into occupy the attention or interest.

Pathological: Study of disease

Calorie: Unit of heat, unit of the energy producing value of food

Typically: Having the distinctive qualities of a particular type of person or thing

Extreme: Very great or intense, at the end (s), outermost, going to great lengths in actions or views, extreme degree or act or condition.

Sufficient: When something is enough

Term: Fixed or limited period, period of weeks during which a law court holds sessions or school holds session.

Malnutrition: Malnutrition, Malnourished, sick persons people suffering from deficiency.

Inadequate: Not adequate, not sufficiently



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