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Revista Española de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 2173-9110Print version ISSN 1135-5727


CHAVEZ ZUNIGA, María Concepción; MADRIGAL FRITSCH, Herlinda; VILLA, Antonio R  and  GUARNEROS SOTO, Noé. High Prevalence of Malnutrition among the Indigenous Early Childhood Population in Mexico Based on the 1999 National Nutrition Survey. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2003, vol.77, n.2, pp.245-255. ISSN 2173-9110.

Background: Malnutrition among the indigenous early childhood population is still currently a serious public health problem, and given that no specific studies affording the possibility of knowing the nutritional condition of this population, the question was posed of identifying the prevalence of malnutrition among the indigenous population of Mexico by means of the 1999 National Nutrition Survey. Methods: A rural sample was selected from the Northern, Central and Southern regions where 70% or more of the population speak an indigenous language. The weight/age, height/age and weight/height Score Z desviations was calculated for 3,236 preschoolers and 4,899 school-age children. Results: Nationwide and by regions, there were no difference by age group regarding the prevalences of the three indicators. By regions, for preschoolers, the South showed the highest prevalences of underheight (69.8%) and underweight (49.8%) than the North (respectively 36.1% and 22.6%), entailing statistically significant differences (p=0.0002 and p=0.04). For overweight and obesity, the North showed a 14.2% prevalence, and the South 5.6% (p<0.05) for the same age group. Conclusions: The nutritional condition of the children studied reveals a geographical polarization, the greatest prevalences related to underheight and underweight children being found in southern Mexico, whilst those due to overalimentation were located in the North, this phenomenon possibly being due to lifestyles and availability of food differing from one region to the other.

Keywords : Nutrition status; Obesity; Protein malnutrition; Ethnic groups.

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