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Nutritional status and factors associated with stunting in children under five years of age in maroon communities in Northeast Brazil

Abstract:

Quilombolas, or members of maroon communities in Brazil, are part of the country’s ethnic/racial minorities exposed to health inequities, reflecting a historical process of harsh socioeconomic disadvantages. The study aimed to assess nutritional status and factors associated with stunting in quilombola children under five years of age living in land-deeded quilombola communities in Northeast Brazil. The study used secondary data from the Survey on Food and Nutritional Security in Land-Deeded Quilombola Communities (2011). The target outcomes were stunting (height-for-age < -2z), excess weight (weight-for-height > 2z), and underweight (weight-for-age < -2z). Chi-square test was used to assess the significance of differences between prevalence rates. Multivariate analysis used a hierarchical conceptual model on stunting. Prevalence rates for excess weight and underweight were 2.8% and 6,1%, respectively. Stunting was diagnosed in 14.1% of the sample. The hierarchical model for stunting evidenced higher prevalence rates among children without access to primary healthcare (PR = 1.63; 95%CI: 1.11; 2.41) and safe water (PR = 2.09; 95%CI: 1.42; 3.08) and those with a history of low birthweight (PR = 2.19; 95%CI: 1.33; 3.61). The high prevalence of stunting showed that the quilombola’ population in the Northeast experiences unfavorable health condition, reflecting lack of access to primary healthcare and precarious sanitation.

Keywords:
Ethnicity and Health; African Continental Ancestry Group; Nutrition Assessment; Malnutrition

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