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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


ALVAREZ, M. de la Luz et al. Infant undernourishment, the development coefficient and its relation to the environment: a pilot study. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 1991, vol.25, n.4, pp.282-288. ISSN 1518-8787.

The socio-cultural factors that might be influencing the normal psychomotor development of the undernourished infant are studied. The sample consisted of 32 mother-infant dyads: 16 having normal DQ (Group A) and 16 having a below normal DQ (Group B) according to Bailey's Test applied to infants who entered a Nutritional Recuperation Center. Results showed that there were some differences in the infants' backgrounds: infants of Group A were the product of a wished-for pregnancy (p < .05), and were separated less from their mother's side (p < .007) than was the case in Group B. No differences were found in the socio-cultural and demographic background of the mothers. The infants' external environment was different in aspects observed within the neighborhood: there were fewer negative aspects in Group A than in Group B (p < .003) and more positive in Group A than in B (p < .001). The infant's internal environment as related to the mother was also different. Mothers of Group A perceived more affection from their partner (p < .008), were more sensitive (to feelings of joy and suffering) (p < .003) and stimulated their infant (p < .004) more than those of Group B. These results show that the internal and external environments in which the infant with normal and below normal DQ evolves were different between the two groups. This could explain the differences in psychomotor development among undernourished infants belonging to the lower socioeconomic strata.

Keywords : Child development; Socioeconomic factors; Infant nutrition disorders.

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