Background: Worldwide, about 20 million children under the age of 5 years have severe acute malnutrition, and has significant effects on cognitive performance of school-going children. This aim of study is to assess the nutritional and cognitive status of primary school children of district Peshawar.
Methodology: This cross-sectional study was conducted from December 2018 to March 2019. Children of primary classes grade one to five and 6-12 years were included in the study. Demographic data was collected from the parents using a structured questionnaire. Anthropometric measures were recorded. Cognitive performance was tested using the Ravens Color Progressive Matrices (RCPM).
Results: Out of 200 selected, parents of n=153 children agreed to participate in the survey. Total 18.2% (28) had a normal BMI, 14.3% (22) were found obese, 14.3% (22) were overweight, 20% (31) children were stunted, and 55.8% (86) children were underweight, 39.6 (61) children had thinness, while 13.6 (21) were suffering from severe Thinness. Result of Ravens showed that 19.5% (30) students scored in 5th percentile, 22.7% (35) in 10th percentile, 21.4% (33) in 25th percentile, 26.6% (41) in 50th percentile, 9.1% (14) in 75 percentile while 0.6% (1) in 90th percentile. Cognitive status of 9.7% (15) students was “Above average”, 26.6% (41) “Intellectually average”, 44.2% (68) “Below average” while 19.5% (30) students was “Intellectually impaired”. No child scored in “intellectually superior” category. A significant correlation was observed between Raven’s test and age (p-value <0·01), weight
(p-value <0·05) based on Z-scores.
Conclusion: Children in Primary schools were cognitively found below average. A considerable number of children were suffering from malnutrition.
Key Words: Ravens, cognitive, malnutrition, Primary school children, Pakistan