To estimate the effect of indigenous ancestry and poverty on nutritional outcomes in Chilean schoolchildren.
We used the national database of children entering to the public educational system in 1997-2004. This includes anthropometric assessment, socioeconomic status and parental surnames, used to derive the ethnic origin. Logistic regression models related poverty and ethnicity on stunting and obesity were done, controlling for sex, age and calendar year.
Data convey 1,580,103 children being 7.4% indigenous; 2.9% had stunting and around 16.0% were obese. Stratifying by poverty, it was shown that the poorest had higher risk of stunting both in indigenous (OR= 2.30; CI95%=2.27-2.33) and non indigenous (OR= 2.29; CI95%= 2.28-2.30). Conversely, poverty was a 'protective factor' for obesity (OR= 0.63; CI95%= 0.62-0.64). Indigenous origin showed a significant OR slightly over the null.
In Chilean children, poverty is a risk factor for stunting but still protects from obesity, independent of indigenous origin.