The economic crisis and malnutrition in children and the elderly: a pilot study in the Municipality of Lisbon

The global economic and financial crisis has spurred some political developments that affect the living conditions of people in countries with the greatest economic difficulties, particularly those in southern Europe, such as Portugal. The spectrum of malnutrition can therefore be expected to increase in Portugal, with a potential impact on the disruption of school performance and the health of children and the elderly. This project aims to evaluate the impact of economic restrictions caused by the current crisis on the nutritional status of children from 6 to 10 years old and elderly in the Municipality of Lisbon. In the case of children, a longitudinal study was carried out for a period of 4 years that began in the school year 2014/15 and in the case of adults, a cross-sectional study was conducted during 2018. The samples consist of 1000 children from 28 public schools, aged between 6 and 10 years and 434 autonomous elderly who attended Day Centers and other similar institutions of the Lisbon Social Network (28), aged between 60 and 99 years. The assessment of nutritional status in the elderly will be made through the application of a sociodemographic questionnaire and the Mini Nutritional Assessment – MNA, that includes the calculation of Body Mass Index (BMI). In children the assessment of nutritional status is the result of measurements of weight and height over the 4 years of the study (2 measurements per year). The results of this project may provide evidence to substantiate the effects of the economic crisis on the nutritional status of children and the elderly and alert those entitled to the nutritional problems facing some children and their families in this context of economic and austerity crisis. And, at the same time, be an important tool in tracking the evolution of the problem.

Duration: 2014-2019

Coordinator (PI): Vítor Rosado-Marques (Faculdade de Motricidade Humana, Universidade de Lisboa; CIAS)

Participants: Augusta Gama (Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade de Lisboa; CIAS)

Partner institutions and Funding: Faculdade de Motricidade Humana (FMH) da Universidade de Lisboa, Câmara Municipal de Lisboa (protocol between CML and FMH), and CIAS.