Malnutrition in school children in an urban-rural region of the extreme South of São Paulo city
To evaluate the persistence of nutritional deficit in a sample of schoolchildren.
A cross-sectional study of 1,761 schoolchildren between 6 and 10 years from 3 schools. They were assessed by Z scores of weight for height and height for age, according to the World Health Organization. The variables studied were gender, age, grade and school year. The χ² test was used to relate the nutritional deficit with the variables.
Of all children 8.5% were malnourished according to the weight for height Z score, 21.6%, according to height for age. The analysis of the weight for height Z score revealed that 59.7% were male and 40.3% female. The mean age was 8.9 years. As to the Z score of height for age, 53.9% were males and 46.1% females. The risk of malnutrition was higher among boys: 59.7% for the weight for height index and 53.9% for height for age. There was no statistical difference between schools, gender and school year. As to nutritional status, school period (p < 0.0001) and students’ grade (p = 0.0105), we observed statistical significance.
Malnutrition still persists among the low-income population and males had a higher percentage of malnutrition. Nutritional evaluation of students is an extremely important tool for understanding the dynamics of child nutrition and development.