The number of babies hospitalized for malnutrition is the highest in 13 years

The data, from 2021, comes from Observa Infância, which has researchers from Fiocruz and Unifase

A survey by Observa Infância, which includes researchers from Fiocruz (Fundação Oswaldo Cruz) and Unifase, shows that in 2021 the number of hospitalizations of babies under the age of one due to malnutrition was the highest of 13 last years. According to the observatory, this index has been growing since 2016.

Last year, the SUS (Unified Health System) recorded 2,979 hospitalizations in this age group. There were, on average, 8 hospitalizations per day due to malnutrition, sequelae of malnutrition and nutritional deficiencies in babies under one year old.

This year’s data, collected through August 30, indicates that 2022 could be worse. The public health network recorded 2,115 hospitalizations of babies under 1 year old due to malnutrition. That is an average rate of 8.7 hospitalizations per day, an increase of 7% compared to 2021.

We still need to improve the identification by race and color in our information systems, but with the data we have, it is possible to say that we have a higher proportion of black and brown children hospitalized for malnutrition.said Cristiano Boccolini, researcher at Icict/Fiocruz (Institute for Communication and Scientific and Technological Information in Health) and coordinator of Observa Infância.

Color information is missing in 1 out of 3 records. With the available data, Observa Infância found that 2 out of 3 hospitalizations for malnutrition recorded from January 2018 to August 2022 in the SUS concern black babies (black and brown).

Between 2018 and 2021, there were 13,202 hospitalizations for malnutrition among children under 1 in Brazil. Of these, 5,246 were black and brown babies.


The hospitalization rate for malnutrition among babies under 1 year old has increased in Brazil since 2016. Last year, there were 113 hospitalizations per 100,000 live births, a 51% increase from 2011, when the lowest rate in the historical series was , began in 2009. That year, the country recorded 75 infant hospitalizations per 100,000 live births.

The South region is the only one to have seen a drop in the rate. The Midwest, on the other hand, is the region that has seen the greatest increase: 30% from 2020 to 2021. The worst hospitalization rate for malnutrition was recorded in the Northeast, a region with 171 fewer infant hospitalizations. 1 year for every 100,000 live births in 2021, 51% higher than the national rate.

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