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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


BUENO, Milena Baptista; MARCHIONI, Dirce Maria Lobo  and  FISBERG, Regina Mara. Changes in the nutritional status of children in public day care facilities in the municipality of São Paulo, Brazil. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2003, vol.14, n.3, pp.165-170. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVE: To assess changes in the anthropometric characteristics of children receiving care in public day care facilities in the municipality of São Paulo, Brazil. METHODS: Using a sampling procedure, 21 day care centers and 849 children were selected for the study. The children in the study were to be weighed and measured at three points over a one-year period: in October of 1999, April of 2000, and October of 2000. Of the 849 children selected, 821 of them were weighed and measured in October of 1999, and 420 of them were weighed and measured at all three points. The data in this paper refer to those 420 children. McNemar's chi-square test was used to analyze any changes at the end of the year in the proportions of children who were malnourished or overweight. Two-way analysis of variance was used to compare the mean height-for-age, weight-for-age, and weight-for-height z scores at the three observations. RESULTS: At the first observation, the prevalences found were: low height-for-age, 7.1%; low weight-for-age, 2.8%; low weight-for-height, 0.2%; and overweight, 5.7%. By the end of the year, the prevalence of low height-for-age had decreased to 3.1% (P = 0.007), of low weight-for-age had decreased to 1.7% (P = 0.56), of low weight-for-height had increased to 0.5% (P = 0.99), and of overweight had increased to 6.9% (P = 0.33). Both malnutrition and overweight were more prevalent in children younger than 24 months than they were among older children studied, at both the beginning and the end of the study period. The changes in the mean indices of height-for-age, weight-for-height, and weight-for-age over the one-year period were significantly positive, except for weight-for-height in children younger than 24 months. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that receiving care in the public day care facilities had a positive impact on the nutritional status of the children over the one-year study period. However, the physical growth of the children in these day care centers should be monitored in order to prevent malnutrition from turning into another public health problem: excessive weight gain.

Keywords : Crescimento; nutrição; pré-escolar; transtornos nutricionais.

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