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Revista de Saúde Pública

Print version ISSN 0034-8910

Abstract

MONTEIRO, Carlos Augusto; REIS, Isildinha Marques dos; BENICIO, Maria Helena D'Aquino  and  GANDRA, Yaro Ribeiro. An anthropometric-nutrition study of pre-school children in low income group areas of the State of S. Paulo, Brazil. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 1984, vol.18, n.1, pp. 1-18. ISSN 0034-8910.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89101984000100001.

In order to evaluate nutritional status at pre-school age in low income areas of the State of S. Paulo, 1,359 children ranging from two to six years underwent an anthropometric examination which included weight and height and measurements of the muscular and fatty areas of the transversal section of the left arm. The analysis of the measurements was made by comparison with measurements taken simultaneously among a population of pre-school children of high socio-economic standing in the county of S. Paulo. Averages according to age were compared and then, by regression analysis according to age, the rates of "growth" of the various measurements were also compared. The analyses indicate that towards the end of pre-school age the children belonging to low income areas present considerable retardation in their growth (approximately 5 cm in height and 5 kg in weight). The transversal section of the arm of these children, at the same period, was reduced both in rigard to muscular and fatty tissue (about 2 cm² and 4 cm², respectively). The same analyses indicate different chronological timings as to the appearance of the deficits encountered during the final stages of pre-school age. Thus, the height as well as the arm muscular area deficits occur predominantly before two years of age whilst the weight and the arm fatty tissue area deficits occur mainly at pre-school age. The data obtained suggest that before two years of age the interaction agent-host responsible for the appearance of malnutrition causes damage, above all, to protein synthesis. Throughout pre-school age that interaction damages, principally, the caloric reserve synthesis. Alterations regarding the agent and/or at the level of the host could be responsible for the differences observed in both periods. So as better to understand them, factors such as caloric and proteic adequacy of the diets, the incidence and severity of infectious diseases and the adaptative mechanisms of the body should be investigated. In any case, the diversity of deficiencies in the nutritional status in both periods should be taken into consideration during the formulation of nutrition programmus directed to children of different ages.

Keywords : Anthropometry; Pre-school children; Nutritional status; Malnutrition.

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