The living conditions (i.e., socioeconomic, healthcare-related, nutritional, and environmental) to which children are exposed may influence their ability to reach their optimal growth potential. This review focuses on the relationship between the nutritional status of children under five years of age and social and environmental factors in Northern Brazil. Children living in this region have limited access to healthcare and face precarious socioeconomic and environmental conditions. This analysis was based on data from national health surveys, the consolidated food, nutrition surveillance system (SISVAN), and indicators of the DPSEEA (driving force, pressure, state, exposures, health effects, and actions) framework. The northern region has the worst living conditions in the country, and children under five years of age have significant height-for-age, weight-for-age, and weight-for-height deficits. Concomitantly, the prevalence of children who are overweight has increased significantly, although it remains lower than that in more developed Brazilian regions. Insufficient and/or inadequate dietary practices and early exposure to unfavorable living conditions are risk factors for nutritional deviations. Further advances in public health policies that consider regional characteristics, particularly in the north, where progress has been slower, are needed.
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