Nutritional status of children under 5 years of age in Brazil: evidence of nutritional epidemiological polarisation

Ingrid Freitas da Silva Pereira Lára de Melo Barbosa Andrade Maria Helena Constatino Spyrides Clélia de Oliveira Lyra About the authors


The objective of this study was to evaluate the nutritional status of children under 5 years of age in Brazil in 2009 and its association with social and demographic factors. Data from the Household Budget Survey (Pesquisa de Orçamento Familiar - POF 2008-2009) were used, in which the nutritional profile was evaluated according to the weight-for-age (W/A), height-for-age (H/A) and weight-for-height (W/H) indices (n = 14,569). The association was estimated by applying the Pearson association test, a logistic regression and a correspondence analysis. The correspondence analysis showed a higher association of thinness with children in the North and Northeast regions, in families with lower levels of income and in those of black colour/race. Overweight and obesity had a stronger relationship with children living in the South, Southeast and Central-West, in males, in those from urban areas, in those of Caucasian colour/race, in those aged 3 years and in those from families with intermediate income ranges. Overweight and obesity showed a heterogeneous spatial distribution amongst Brazilian states. A nutritional epidemiological polarisation that presents a major challenge for public health is indicated: we must reduce nutritional deficiencies and promote healthy eating habits from childhood to improve the nutritional and epidemiological profiles and mortality of the population.

Child; Nutritional status; Nutritional epidemiology; Demographic surveys

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