Chronic malnutrition in infancy and obesity associated with short stature in adulthood may share common biological and socio-environmental determinants. An analysis of intra-family nutrition status distribution patterns may provide elements for understanding the risk factors common to these physiological conditions. The purpose of this study is to ascertain how the intra-family distribution of nutritional conditions in pauperized families occurs, examining related social, environmental and biological factors. An impoverished population (income less than US$ 70) was studied in two rural areas of São Paulo State, Brazil: Monteiro Lobato and Santo Antônio do Pinhal. The sample consisted of members of these families, with 215 children younger than 71.11 months; mothers (197), fathers (167) and siblings (6 to 18 years of age). A hierarchical logistic regression analysis model was prepared. The mothers' educational levels, the number of rooms in the home, age below 24 months and problems at birth, were all associated with height deficits in children, together with short maternal stature, especially when associated with obesity. Additionally, a marked association was noted between height deficits in these children and chronic malnutrition among their older siblings (6 to 18 years old). Children aged 24 months or less presented more severe risks of delayed growth.
Short stature; Obesity; Poverty