Nutritional and health determinants of school failure and dropout in adolescent girls in Kingston, Jamaica

dc.contributor.authorWalker, Susan P.
dc.coverage.spatialWashington, DC 1994
dc.description.abstractThis study examined the health and nutrition of adolescent Jamaican girls and their health-related behaviours. The relationship between these characteristics and school achievement, attendance, and dropout was also investigated. Data were collected from a sample of 452 Grade 8 students from all-age and New Secondary schools in Kingston, using a questionnaire designed to obtain information on health-related behaviours, experiences of hunger, dietary patterns related to iron intake, and social background. Academic achievement was measured with the Wide Range Achievement Test, and nutritional status was determined using standard protocols. The results of the analysis revealed that the girls' heights and BMIs were appropriate for their age. However, they had smaller skinfolds than the references, and experiences of hunger were not uncommon. The main nutritional problem was anemia, with 16 percent of the girls having haemoglobin levels <115g/l. About 20 percent of the girls were sexually active and use of contraceptives was low. Exposure to violence was high, with 79 percent of the girls having witnessed a fight in the past year, and 37 percent having actually been involved in fights. School achievement levels and attendance were poor. Lack of school materials, reading stimulation at home, and community participation; anemia: sexual activity; involvements in fights; and the number of chores before school were associated with lower achievement levels. Girls with poor attendance had lower achievement levels. By end of Grade 9, 50 girls (11 percent) dropped out of school. Risk of dropout was greater in girls who were sexually active, who did not live with parents, and who had not attended school consistently in Grade 8
dc.extentii, 113 p.
dc.publisherInternational Center for Research on Women
dc.relation.ispartofseriesNutrition of Adolescent Girls Research Program. Research Report Series
dc.relation.ispartofseriesNo. 1
dc.source.uriCERIS - 160:21
dc.subject.otherAcademic achievement
dc.titleNutritional and health determinants of school failure and dropout in adolescent girls in Kingston, Jamaica