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Jornal de Pediatria

Print version ISSN 0021-7557On-line version ISSN 1678-4782


CUERVO, Maria Rita M.; AERTS, Denise R. G. de C.  and  HALPERN, Ricardo. Nutritional status surveillance of children in a health district in southern Brazil. J. Pediatr. (Rio J.) [online]. 2005, vol.81, n.4, pp.325-331. ISSN 0021-7557.

OBJECTIVE: To investigate the nutritional status of children referred by a primary care center to the Nutritional Surveillance Program (Prá-Crescer), and to follow up children at risk in a health district of Porto Alegre (RS), Brazil. METHODS: A retrospective cohort study was conducted with 674 children, aged between 6 and 59 months, referred to the Prá-Crescer Program. Height-for-age, weight-for-height and weight-for-age indices were used to evaluate nutritional status. The cutoff points were the 3rd and 10th percentiles of the NCHS standards. The nutritional status of 391 children at nutritional risk was followed up for 12 months. The chi-square test was used to analyze associations between variables. RESULTS: Fifty-eight percent of the children had nutritional deficit. Of these, 38.1% were undernourished (< P3), and 61.9% were at nutritional risk (between P3 and P10). Height-for-age deficit was the most frequent, and the age group mostly affected was 12 to 24 months. Among those at nutritional risk, 50.1% completed the follow-up, 33.5% did not start follow-up, and 16.4% were lost to follow-up. 41.3% recovered nutritional health, 10.2% showed some improvement, without correcting their anthropometric deficits. 39.8% did not show any improvement, and 8.7% had worsening of their deficits. Recovery of nutritional health occurred, on average, within 7.5 months. CONCLUSIONS: This study showed the importance of following up children at nutritional risk and indicates that some aspects should be improved in surveillance programs. Such improvements may reduce the number of children lost to follow-up.

Keywords : Nutritional surveillance; nutritional evaluation; nutritional status; malnutrition; anthropometry.

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