This study evaluated school ambience and the nutritional status of preschoolers in the Macaé city public system. This is a cross-sectional study with secondary anthropometric data collected between 2012 and 2014. In all, 962 children, aged 2.1 to 6.6 years from four schools were analyzed as per the World Health Organization recommendation. Ambience was assessed qualitatively by direct observation. Logistic regression verified the probability of different nutritional deviations among schools. The prevalence of nutritional excess was alarming, especially for children under five (13.7%). In children aged five years and over, the two schools with large social support network in their surroundings had a lower probability of nutritional excess (OR = 0.40 and OR = 0.33; p < 0.05). The school with more cafeterias and food advertisements in the territory had higher proportion of obesity. Positive factors of ambience within schools, such as the lack of commercial canteen, could not avoid nutritional excess. This paper warns about the importance of surroundings, especially social support. This is poorly addressed in nutrition literature, but may be a differential in the nutritional profile, mainly when key aspects of protection within school are adequate.
Nutritional status; School health; Child; Preschool; Environment and public health; Social support