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Revista de Salud Pública

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PEDRAZA, Dixis Figueroa. Nutritional status as a factor and a result of nutritional and food security and their representations in Brazil. Rev. salud pública [online]. 2004, vol.6, n.2, pp.140-155. ISSN 0124-0064.

We approach the determining factors and results of food and nutritional security in Brazil. The following aspects are considered: i. The concept to be studied; ii, The form of measuring a particular factor; iii. A Brazilian characterization on the subject, and iv. Conclusions. Nutritional status is primarily a result of the balance between the needs and the spending of food energy and other essential nutrients and, secondarily, of multiple determinants in a given space, represented by physical, genetic, biological, cultural, psycho-socio-economic and environmental factors. According to this, there are 3 basic causes of nutritional disorders: food, health and care. Because the repercussions of the economic changes on the nutritional status are not immediate, food security is only one factor of nutritional status and because subjects adapt differently to low food intake, the most adequate nutritional indicators in studies of food and nutritional security are the childhood indicators and the indicators of historical trends. The interpretation of nutritional indicators poses 3 main problems: to determine if the problem is really one of food security; to establish the degree of importance of the problem, and to determine which could be the appropriate normative intervention. The studies of nutritional status in Brazil show considerable improvement in the anthropometric indicators, emphasizing that the worst conditions prevail in the North East region and in the rural areas. Regarding micronutrient deficiencies, the absence of nationwide studies and the great advances in the programs to tackle this deficiencies, mainly vitamin A and iodine deficiencies are highlighted.

Keywords : Nutritional status; food intake; Brazil.

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