Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia
Print version ISSN 1415-790X
MONDINI, Lenise and MONTEIRO, Carlos Augusto. Relevance of under and overnutrition in different social classes: methods and application to the Brazilian population. Rev. bras. epidemiol. [online]. 1998, vol.1, n.1, pp. 28-39. ISSN 1415-790X. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1415-790X1998000100004.
The search for criteria of the same specificity in the diagnosis of both undernutrition and obesity is the main objective of this study. The selected criteria are applied to data collected by a nation-wide cross-sectional anthropometric survey undertaken in Brazil in 1989 as to produce comparable estimates for the prevalence of undernutrition and obesity in different socioeconomic strata. The study included 20-64 year-old male adults (n=14,235), 18-64 year-old female adults (n=15,669), and 6-35 month-old children (n=3.641). Body Mass Index (kg/m2) was employed to assess nutritional status of adults and weight-for-age and weight-for-height indices were used for children. The 5th and 95th centiles of the distribution of these indices in a reference population were used as limits for the diagnosis of undernutrition and obesity, respectively. These results challenge the common belief that undernutrition is a relevant problem for the poor population, and that obesity only affects affluent strata. The need for an urgent revision of national public health nutrition priorities and interventions is stressed.
Keywords : Protein-energy malnutrition; Social class; Brazil.