Daily Consumption of Vegetables is Associated with Improved Cognitive Performance of School-aged Children in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana - Abstract
Poor nutrition predicts poor health and cognition of school-aged children, yet these are understudied in Ghana. This study assessed dietary intake and cognition test performance of school-aged children. A cross-sectional study involving 1,229 children, aged 9-13 years from twenty-eight (28) randomly selected government-and privately-owned primary schools in the Greater Accra Region, Ghana was undertaken. Dietary intake was assessed using a repeated 24-hour recall and patterns of food group intake by a 6-food group food frequency questionnaire. Cognition tests were performed using the Raven’s Coloured Progressive Matrices (RCPM). The majority of the children did not meet the Estimated Average Requirement (EAR) for energy (86.1%), vitamins A (95.4%), E (82.2%) and B12 (63.2%), folate (64.8%) and zinc (72.6%), and did not meet the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for fibre (91.8%). Compared to boys (46.3%), girls (54.5%) had lower odds (AOR= 0.8 p = 0.0549, 95%CI= 0.6-1.0) of performing cognition test above the 50th percentile while the 13 years old children had lower odds (AOR= 0.4, p = 0.002, 95% CI= 0.2-0.7) of performing cognition test above the 50th percentile than the 10 years old children. School children who had weekly (AOR= 0.6, p < 0.001, 95% CI= 0.5-0.8), never/occasionally consumed vegetable (AOR= 0.3, p = 0.016, 95% CI= 0.1-0.8) compared with daily consumers had lower odds of performing cognition test above the 50th percentile. The odds of performing cognition test above the 50th percentile were lower among school children who consumed below the EARs for vitamin B12 (COR= 0.8, p = 0.018, 95 CI= 0.6-1.0) and iron (COR= 0.7, p = 0.039, 95 CI= 0.5-1.0). Nutrients intake inadequacies were high among the children studied, but girls, older children, those who consumed vegetables less frequently, consumed below the EAR for vitamin B12 and iron were less likely to perform better in cognitive test.