• Atiah Munirah Meli Department of Food Science, Faculty of Fisheries and Food Science, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, 21030 Kuala Nerus, Terengganu, Malaysia
  • Asma' Ali Department of Food Science, Faculty of Fisheries and Food Science, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, 21030 Kuala Nerus, Terengganu, Malaysia
Keywords: Dietary Intakes, Nutritional Status, Cognitive Performance, Fishermen's Children


This paper highlights the dietary intake of fishermen's children, their nutritional status and cognitive performance. It will help to have a reasonable perspective of their dietary intake and their relationship with nutritional status and how it inevitably influences cognitive performance. This is relevant as it can provide the government and health authorities with insights into the execution of an action plan to improve the nutritional status of fishing communities, especially in Malaysia, where possible. A systematic search of the English scholarly papers on this subject was undertaken between 1997 and 2020. A total of 20 studies have been systematically chosen and reviewed. Studies are divided into two groups, based on the type of research conducted. Ten of the retrieved studies looked at dietary intake and nutritional status in fisherman's children, while another ten studies looked at cognitive performance in children and adolescents and the factors that contributed to it. In terms of dietary intake, three studies reported low energy consumption and low carbohydrate intake, one study reported high carbohydrate intake, four studies reported high protein intake, one study reported low fat intake, five studies reported low micronutrient intake (calcium, iron, vitamin A and vitamin C) and two studies reported a high intake of niacin. As far as nutritional status is concerned, six studies recorded that children are stunted/underweight and three studies reported that children are obese/overweight. In comparison, one study recorded high cognitive performance, three studies reported average cognitive performance, and three studies reported poor cognitive performance. In the studies reviewed, it has been shown that there is a positive association between socio-economic status, dietary intake/nutritional status and cognitive performance among children in fishing communities in different regions. There is a need for nutrition education and intervention in these disadvantaged communities.


Jeejeebhoy KN, Detsky AS, Baker JP. Assessment of nutritional status. Journal of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition 1990; 14(5): 193-196.

Walton E, Allen S. Malnutrition in developing countries. Paediatrics and Child Health 2011; 21(9): 418-424.

Mikkila V, Rasanen L, Raitakari OT, et al. Longitudinal changes in diet from childhood into adulthood with respect to risk of cardiovascular diseases: The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2004; 58:1038-1045.

McAfee AJ, Mulhern MS, McSorlley EM, et al. Intakes and adequacy of potentially important nutrients for cognitive development among 5-year-old children in the Seychelles Child Development and Nutrition Study. Public Health Nutrition 2012; 15(9).

Benton D. The influence of dietary status on the cognitive performance of children. Molecular nutrition & food research 2010; 54(4): 457-470.

Baker-French SR. Food security and nutritional status in fishing communities in Bolivia’s Northern Amazon: results of a household survey. Master Thesis, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (Human Nutrition), University of British Columbia (Vancouver) 2013:1-172.

Makame MO, Kangalawe RYM, Salum LA. Climate change and household food insecurity among fishing communities in the eastern coast of Zanzibar. Journal of Development and Agricultural Economics 2015; 7(4): 131-142.

Rahman MA, Abka R, Rahman MS, et al. Poverty and food security analysis: A study of fishermen households in a selected area of Bangladesh. Journal of the Bangladesh Agricultural University 2013; 11(2): 293–299.

Stanford RJ, Wiryawan B, Bengen DG, et al. Exploring fisheries dependency and its relationship to poverty, A case study of West Sumatra, Indonesia. Ocean and Coastal Management 2013; 84: 140-152.

Panikkar KKP, Alagaraja K. Socio-economic status of fishermen community of Calicut area. Marine Fisheries Information Service, Technical and Extension Series 1981; 33: 2-12.

Ujjania NC, Patel AN. Socio-economic status of fishermen community of Danti village in Valsad District (Gujarat) India. Emerging Trends in Development Research 2011; 18(1): 25-30.

Sivanesan R. Problems and prospects of fisherfolk in Kanyakumari District of Tamilnadu. International Journal of Research in Management & Business Studies 2014; 1(1): 7-12.

Zainudin LM, Zein A, Idris MH, et al. Socio-economic profile comparison of fishermen community in Kuala Marang and Seberang Takir, Terengganu, Malaysia. Journal of Sustainability Science and Management 2019; 14(6): 145-157.

Nursyazwin M, Zein A. Socio-economic profile and monthly income of fishermen in Marang, Terengganu. Universiti Malaysia Terengganu Journal of Undergraduate Research 2019; 1(1).

Yaakob O, Chau QP. Weather downtime and its effect on fishing operation in Peninsular Malaysia. Jurnal Teknologi 2005; 42(A): 13–26.

Ishak AM, Zainuddin MZ, Razak FA. Bajet 2016: Nelayan harap peruntukan ditambah. Berita Harian 2015. Available from:

Foo LH, Khor GL, Tee ES, et al. Dietary intake of adolescents in a rural fishing community in Tuaran District, Sabah. Malaysia Journal of Nutrition 2006; 12(1): 11-21.

Hanazaki N, Begossi A. Does fish still matter? Changes in the diet of two Brazilian fishing communities. Ecology of Food and Nutrition 2003; 42(4-5): 279-301.

Shan CH, Ali A, Zakaria NS, et al. Assessment of diet quality and its association with nutritional status among fishermen’s children in Terengganu. Malaysia Applied Biology 2018; 47(6): 137-144.

Moshy VH, Masenge TJ, Bryceson I. Undernutrition among under-five children in two fishing communities in Mafia Island Marine Park, Tanzania. Journal of Sustainable Development 2013; 6(6): 1.

Nik Mohd Sanusi NNN, Ali A, Kamarudin KS, et al. Assessment of food insecurity and food coping strategies among fishermen household during monsoon in Terengganu, Malaysia. Malaysia Applied Biology 2018; 47(6): 1-9.

Bandoh DA, Kenu E. Dietary diversity and nutritional adequacy of under-fives in a fishing community in the central region of Ghana. BMC Nutrition 2017; 3(2).

Gibson E, Stacey N, Sunderland TCH, et al. Dietary diversity and fish consumption of mothers and their children in fisher households in Komodo District, Eastern Indonesia. PLoS ONE 2020; 15(4).

Khor GL, Tee ES. Nutritional assessment of rural villages and estates in Peninsular Malaysia II. Nutritional status of children aged 18 years and below. Malaysia Journal of Nutrition 1997; 3: 21-47.

Murillo-Castillo KD, Frongillo EA, Corella-Madueño MA, et al. Food insecurity was associated with lower Fruits and vegetables consumption but not with overweight and obesity in children from Mexican fishing communities. Ecology of Food and Nutrition 2020.

Capanzana MV, Aguila DV, Gironella GMP, et al. Nutritional status of children ages 0–5 and 5–10 years old in households headed by fisherfolks in the Philippines. Archives of Public Health 2018; 76:24.

Asawa K, Pujara P, Thakkar JP, et al. Assessment of intelligence quotient among schoolchildren of fishermen community of Kutch, Gujarat, India. International Maritime Health 2014; 65(2): 73-78.

Nasir MTM, Norimah AK, Hazizi, AS, et al. Child feeding practices, food habits, anthropometric indicators and cognitive performance among pre-schoolers in Peninsular Malaysia. Appetite 2012; 58(2): 525-530.

Nurliyana AR, Shariff ZM, Taib MNM, et al. Early growth and home environment are associated with cognitive development in the first year of life of Malaysian infants. Early human development 2020; 140.

Sathe N, Gokhale D. Intelligence Quotient and Nutritional Status of 4-6 Year Old Children from Fishermen Community of Goa, India. Indian Journal of Public Health Research & Development 2019; 10(7): 1594-1599.

Poh BK, Lee ST, Yeo GS, et al. Low socioeconomic status and severe obesity are linked to poor cognitive performance in Malaysian children. BMC Public Health 2019; 19(4): 541.

Tai SW & Ali A. Breakfast consumption and its relationship with cognitive performance among fishermen’s children in Terengganu. Malays. Applied Biology 2018; 47(4): 24-34.

Chin KJ, Ali A, Yusof HM, et al. Does dietary adequacy reflect the cognitive performance of children? a study among the homeless children in Klang Valley, Malaysia. IMJM 2020; 19(3): 55-62.

Haile D, Nigatu D, Gashaw K, et al. Height for age z score and cognitive function are associated with Academic performance among school children aged 8–11 years old. Archives of Public Health 2016; 74(1): 17.

Demetriou A, Kazi S, Makris N, et al. Cognitive ability, cognitive self-awareness, and school performance: From childhood to adolescence. Intelligence 2020; 79.

Kim, JY, Kang SW. Relationships between dietary intake and cognitive function in healthy Korean children and adolescents. Journal of lifestyle medicine 2017; 7(1): 10.

Dotti Sani GM, Treas J. Educational gradients in parents' child-care time across countries, 1965–2012. J Marriage Fam 2016; 78(4):1083–1096.

How to Cite
Meli, A. M., & Ali, A. (2021). DIETARY INTAKE, NUTRITIONAL STATUS AND COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE AMONG FISHERMEN’S CHILDREN: A REVIEW. Malaysian Journal of Public Health Medicine, 21(1), 148-159.