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close this bookBasic Science and Health Education for Primary Schools Uganda (UNICEF, 1992, 162 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentForeword
View the documentLinking Volume 1 and 2 of Basic Science and Health Education Teacher's Guide
Open this folder and view contentsIntroduction to Book
View the documentCHAPTER 1. My Health and Other People's
View the documentCHAPTER 2. Caring for Our Bodies
View the documentCHAPTER 3. Causes of Accidents
View the documentCHAPTER 4. Names and Sources of Food
View the documentCHAPTER 5. The Importance of Immunisation
View the documentCHAPTER 6. Cleaning Things We Use
View the documentCHAPTER 7. Family Relationships and Interactions
View the documentCHAPTER 8. The Six Immunisable Diseases
View the documentCHAPTER 9. Food Hygiene
View the documentCHAPTER 10. Helping Others to Keep Healthy
View the documentCHAPTER 11. Worms, Diarrhoea and Dehydration
View the documentCHAPTER 12. Safety and Accident Prevention
View the documentCHAPTER 13. Germs and Prevention of Disease
View the documentCHAPTER 14. Working together for Good Health
View the documentCHAPTER 15. Topic: Keeping Clean
View the documentCHAPTER 16. Malaria, Trachoma and Sleeping Sickness
View the documentCHAPTER 17. First Aid for Common Accidents
View the documentCHAPTER 18. Food Preservation and Contamination
View the documentCHAPTER 19. Injuries and Their Care
View the documentCHAPTER 20. Digestive System
View the documentCHAPTER 21. Nutrition, Health and Disease
View the documentCHAPTER 22. Worms

CHAPTER 21. Nutrition, Health and Disease

P. 4 TERM 3


By the end of this topic pupils should be able to:

1. Explain what is meant by nutrition.
2. Explain what is meant by malnutrition.
3. Describe types of foods needed by the body for different functions.
4. Plan a balanced diet.
5. Describe the ill effects of malnutrition.
6. Name the uses of the child-health card.

Behavioural Changes:

Pupils should:

· Try to eat a balanced diet.
· Eat regular meals.
· Record the weight of other children in their families.

Main Ideas:

· Nutrition is a process by which food is taken in and used by the body.

· Different types of foods help our bodies in different ways.

· Some foods make our bodies grow bigger. These are called body-building foods or proteins.

· Some foods give us energy to play, walk and do manual work. These are called energy-giving or carbohydrates.

· Other foods protect our bodies from getting certain diseases and help the body work properly. These are called protective foods or vitamins.

· We can check the growth of children using the child health card.

· Breastmilk is the best food for young babies.

· When the body does not get enough of all the foods needed, or gets the wrong foods, the body becomes malnourished.

· Malnutrition is a state when the body does not receive enough of all essential foods.

· Malnutrition causes disease, often called "deficiency diseases" because, lack of enough of one type of food causes a particular disease.

Notes for the Teacher:

(See Chapter 4 in this Guide and "Feeding and Foods for Vulnerable Groups"page 79, in Teacher's Guide Volume 2 P.5-7)

Nutrition is a process by which food is taken in and used by the body. The body needs three essential types of food; proteins (body building) carbohydrates, (energy-giving) and vitamin protective foods. When the body lacks enough of each of these types of food it becomes malnourished.

Body building foods (Proteins)

Energy giving foods (Carbohydrates and fats)

Protective foods (Vitamins)



Fruits like





Cooking oil













Tomatoes, Carrots etc.


In order to grow strong and remain healthy, it is necessary to choose some food from each group each day.

Some protein (or body building food) and some vitamins. A variety of protective foods should be included to avoid deficiency diseases.


A healthy child or person has the following signs. He is mentaly alert and enjoys physical and mental activities. He is full of energy, has good eye-sight, bright eyes, a clear skin, hair in good condition and colour, strong bones and teeth; well formed muscles and is not fatty. Healthy children grow taller every year and increase in weight. When children are fed badly, (not on a balanced diet), they become very small for their age and do not seem to grow.

The Child Health Card:

When a baby is young the mother may need advice on feeding it and on child care for it.

At the child clinic each baby is given a Child Health Card. On this card, the weight of the baby is recorded each time the mother goes to get advice, and the record is in form of a line drawing. If the line goes up, as the baby gets older, then the baby is growing well. If the line falls, then the baby is not growing well because it is not eating enough or may be the baby is sick. Children should be weighed regularly so that sickness and poor growth are detected early. Then the mother can receive advice to improve the condition of her child.

Forms of Malnutrition:


Malnutrition causes particular diseases. Lack of particular food types causes nutritional deficiency diseases and have harmful effects on the body.

The main types of nutritional deficiency diseases are a result of:

1. Deficiency of vitamins e.g. a deficiency of vitamins A can cause cataracts on the eye.

2. Deficiency of mineral salts such as Iron can lead to anaemia, Calcium can lead to weakness of bones and teeth and Iodine which leads to goitre in the throat.

3. Deficiency of proteins and carbohydrates - in various quantities. leads to marasmus and kwashiorkor.


Marasmus and Kwashiorkor are very common among children in developing countries. These diseases are mainly a result of deficiency of proteins and carbohydrates in various quantities.


Marasmus is a disease of children caused by starvation. The child is fed on a diet without growth and energy foods. This is common in children who have no breast milk (death of mother or abandoned).

Marasmus occurs mostly in children because too little food is offered to them or they cannot absorb the food they eat. Other causes of marasmus are infective diarrhoea in children or a long illness such as tuberculosis.

Marasmic children look thin, withered and very small for their age having a face of an older person.

Marasmus can be prevented by teaching parents to breast feed their children and make the best use of the foods available to them. They should grow protein foods and visit the young child clinics for advice.


· Child has the face of an old man.
· The child is always hungry.
· The child is underweight and very thin.
· Often the child has a pot belly.



Kwashiorkor is a disease of children caused by absence of proteins in the child's diet. It can be caused by infections or absence of mother.

Kwashiorkor usually occurs when the child is suddenly taken off breast milk. The child becomes unhappy and loses appetite.


· Failure of growth, the weight and height of the child are too low for the age. (Refer to child health card).

· Many parts of the body are swollen because of excessive fluid accumulation in tissues.

· The hair changes its colour, becoming brown to almost white. It loses its curl and is thin and sparse.

· The skin turns paler than normal.

· Misery: the child shows no interest in anything and looks unhappy, and has no energy even to cry.

· Usually he has diarrhoea.

Kwashiorkor can be prevented by feeding children on enough protein especially milk and weaning them on a balanced diet - more protein than carbohydrates is given, i.e. more fish, eggs, soya, beans, ground nuts etc.


1. Bring foods that should be eaten by older children and adults. Plan a simple balanced meal with pupils, work out the cost of the meal.

2. Make a list of foods which can be given to babies, children under five and mothers, which are strong in nutrients for growth and health.

3. Get a scale and have children weigh themselves with clothes off with only pants. Show pupils how to plot their weight on graph paper. Display weight chart of well fed healthy baby.

Show samples of child health cards.

4. Ask pupils to try to see if they can recognize a child with Kwashiorkor or marasmus.

5. Invite a Health Worker to give a talk and show pictures.

6. Discuss local (of the place where the school is situated) community's ideas about marasmus and kwashiorkor.

Discuss how to prevent them.


1. Classifying.

2. Drawing.

3. Interpreting pictures which depict action and events.

4. Understanding relationship of sequence. (understanding relationships using vocabularly which express these relationships).

5. Making graphs.

6. Pasting, sticking, examining.

7. Observation.

8. Questioning.

9. Recording.

10. Discussion.

11. Interpretation role play.


Pictures, photographs, diagrams of:

Milk, Eggs, Sugar, Fork, Cup or bowl, Weighing scale, Crayons, Colouring, Pencils

Food samples, Manilla paper Graph papers, Books, Glue, Scrap book


· Questioning.


Make a list of food staffs eaten in a week according to the main food substances in them.


(What have you learnt from this chapter?)

1. Explain what is meant by:

a) Nutrition.
b) Malnutrition.

2. Describe the signs of a healthy person.
3. Describe the types of foods needed by the body for different functions.
4. Describe how to prevent a child from becoming malnourished.
5. Name the uses of the Child Health Card.