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


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.

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

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