SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.44 issue1Socioeconomic inequities in the health and nutrition of children in low/middle income countriesExperiences of discrimination among university students in the city of Rio de Janeiro author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

Services on Demand




Related links


Revista de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0034-8910


LIMA, Ana Lucia Lovadino de et al. Causes of the accelerated decline in child undernutrition in Northeastern Brazil (1986-1996-2006). Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2010, vol.44, n.1, pp.17-27. ISSN 0034-8910.

OBJECTIVE: To describe changes in prevalence of child undernutrition in Northeastern Brazil in two successive time periods, identifying, in each period, the major factors responsible for these changes. METHODS: Data analyzed are from probabilistic samples of underfives from three Demographic Health Surveys carried out in 1986 (n=1,302), 1996 (n=1,108), and 2006 (n=950). Identification of factors responsible for temporal changes in child undernutrition (height-for-age below < -2 z) took into account time changes in five potential determinants of child nutritional status, statistical modeling of the independent association between determinants and risk of undernutrition, and calculation of attributable fractions. RESULTS: Prevalence of child undernutrition fell by one-third between 1986 and 1996 (from 33.9% to 22.2%) and by almost three-quarters between 1996 and 2006 (from 22.2% to 5.9%). Improvements in maternal schooling and in the coverage of water and sewage services were particularly important for the decline in child undernutrition in the first period, while increasing purchasing power of the poorest families and, again, maternal schooling were more relevant in the second period. CONCLUSIONS: The acceleration of the decline in child undernutrition between the two periods was consistent with accelerated improvement of maternal schooling, water supply and sewage, health care, and maternal reproductive antecedents, as well as with the outstanding increase in purchasing power among the poor during the second period. If the rate of decline in growth deficits is kept at around the rate of the most recent period, child undernutrition will be controlled in the Brazilian Northeast in less than ten years. Achieving this will depend on sustaining the increase in purchasing power among the poor and on ensuring public investment in completing the universalization of access to essential services such as education, health, and sanitation.

Keywords : Protein-Energy Malnutrition; epidemiology; Child Nutrition Disorders; epidemiology; Socioeconomic Factors; Child Welfare; Nutrition Surveys.

        · abstract in Portuguese | Spanish     · text in Portuguese     · English ( pdf ) | Portuguese ( pdf )     · press release in Portuguese


Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License