Over the last 30 years child malnutrition has been reduced in Brazil, especially in the poorer regions of the country, the North and Northeast.
In 1975, 16.6% of Brazilian children up to the age of five were malnourished. By 2002 child malnutrition had fallen to 4.6%.
The numbers were presented in a study by the government statistical bureau (Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística) (IBGE) on nutrition and physical stature of children and adolescents.
The report found that as a result of better nutrition, Brazilian children are taller than ever before – taller than international averages in some regions.
However, on the other hand, the study also found that there were many more children and adolescents who were overweight, especially boys.
Thirty years ago the percentage of youths between the ages of 10 and 19 who were overweight was 3.9% for boys and 7.5% for girls. Today it is 18% for boys and 15.4% for girls.
The study also shows clearly the relation between family income and child well-being. In low-income families, over 22% of the boys were shorter than the norm. In high-income families, over 28% of the boys were overweight.