Introduction Human capital concept is related to social and nutrition experiences in childhood as well as social status inherited from their parents.
Objective Estimate the chance of university achievement among Brazilian youth with adequate or inadequate early nutrition and born from parents with low vs high school degree.
Methods A sample of young, aged 20–24 years, and their parents from three Brazilian surveys, PNSN-1989, POF-2003 and POF-2009. Nutritional status was standardised from WHO reference2007; highest school level achieved was used to classify social status. We set three nutrition groups (below −1Z, −1 to +1, and above +1Z, named N1, N2 and N3, respectively) for parents and youth and three school levels groups (elementary, high, college, named E1, E2, E3 respectively) for parents. Probability of beginning university by youth was estimated using multiple logistic regression. Survey year was included as independent dummy variable to estimate changes among periods.
Results The ratio between parents E3 vs E1 among youth N1 was 7.0 in 1989, 11.0 in 2003 and 6.1 in 2009. This ratio for young N2 was 5.9 in 1989, 9.7 and 5.0 in 2003 and 2009, respectively. For young's N3 that ratio was 3.9 in 1989, 8.8 in 2003 and 4.0 in 2009.
Conclusion The unequal chance of being university student in Brazil as function of parent's social status and early nutrition decreased from period 1989–2003 to period 2003–2009. Probably this change is associated with social mobility experienced in country this decade.
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